Chelsea may forgo their pursuit of West Ham midfield Declan Rice and instead make a move for Borussia Dortmund starlet Jude Bellingham in 2022.
Rice has been linked with a Stamford Bridge switch for some time and Frank Lampard is a big fan of the England international. However, he is a key part of the Hammers' setup and Chelsea were put off by their hefty £70m valuation in the summer, having already spent a great deal strengthening the squad.
According to Eurosport, Lampard remains keen to sign Rice but the club are also lining up an alternative, Bellingham, if an agreement cannot be reached. The 17-year-old joined BVB from Birmingham City in the summer where he made over 40 appearances during the 2019/2020 season.
Since arriving in the Bundesliga Bellingham has impressed, featuring six times and also appearing in all of his side's Champions League games so far. He was previously a target for Manchester United but it now appears that Chelsea could make a move for him instead.
There is growing uncertainty around Stamford Bridge over whether they really need to sign Rice in January. Not only has Chelsea's defensive record improved sharply in recent weeks, but N'golo Kanté has also rediscovered his form at the base of midfield.
Kante's future had previously been uncertain with both Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain linked. Saying that, many at Chelsea believe they should get through the next 18 months with Kante playing in midfield and then make a move for Bellingham in 2022.
Meanwhile, the Blues are currently trying to drum up interest for several first team players who they want to see the back of in January; Kepa Arrizabalaga and Marcos Alonso have no future at the club, while Jorginho, Olivier Giroud, Emerson Palmieri and Antonio Rudiger may also depart west London.