Chelsea are ready to make a move for Everton's Lucas Digne following the news that Ben Chilwell will not play again until next season, 90min understands.
The European champions had been worried about Chilwell's injury and calls were being made last week about potential left wing-back reinforcements.
The former Leicester man suffered the injury last month, and at first it was hoped that two months of rest would mean no surgery was needed. However, it has now become clear that he has to go under the knife.
Chilwell is likely to be sidelined for up to nine months, and 90min understand that Chelsea are ready to look at a January signing.
They have considered internal options and one of them was recalling Dutch teenager Ian Maatsen from his loan spell at Championship Coventry City. The 19-year-old has enjoyed an excellent campaign, but his experience is limited.
While Maatsen is an option, the Blues are also looking to see what possibilities there are elsewhere. One option is Everton's wantaway left-sided ace Digne.
90min understands Chelsea considered moving for the Frenchman and held talks, before they signed Chilwell in 2020.
Now, the Blues are again on Digne's trail as the player is looking to leave Everton in January after a falling out with manager Rafa Benitez.
Benitez has told the club's hierarchy that the player can leave less than a year after he signed a new long-term contract.
Indeed Everton have already agreed terms on his replacement with Dynamo Kiev's Vitaliy Mykolenko set to arrive in a £17m deal in early January - clearing the way for Digne's departure.
Chelsea see him as an ideal fit to Thomas Tuchel's system of wing-backs, but it remains to be seen how much Everton will demand for the Frenchman.
90min understand the Blues would be prepared to strike a permanent deal for Digne, but they would like it to be heavily appearance based given they would be taking his whole wage packet off Everton's hands.
The Toffees also realise that they would not want to be left with one of their highest paid players sitting in the stands on a weekly basis.
Digne himself, through his representatives, has made it clear to Everton that he would love the chance to move to Chelsea.