Jose Mourinho is lining up a loan move for out-of-favour Real Madrid left-back Fabio Coentrao, according to reports.
The Portuguese manager wishes to bring his countryman to Stamford Bridge as Ashley Cole continues to struggle with injury, per Matt Barlow of the Daily Mail:
Jose Mourinho is considering a loan deal for Fabio Coentrao in January, a move that would cast further doubt on Ashley Cole’s future.
Cole has been struggling with a rib injury for two months and that has limited his game, says Mourinho.
The same article also suggests a loan move for Coentrao would allow Mourinho to focus on acquiring the long-term talents of Sevilla's Alberto Moreno or Southampton's Luke Shaw, who are aged 21 and 18 respectively.
Coentrao has made just four appearances for Los Blancos this season and continues to struggle for game time under new boss Carlo Ancelotti. He has completed 90 minutes on just two occasions since the start of September, as noted by WhoScored.
Barlow's report suggests Mourinho would look to sign Coentrao permanently if he performs well in the Premier League, a deal made easier considering they share the same agent in Jorge Mendes.
The potential move to West London could represent a dramatic turn of events for the 25-year-old, who was on the cusp of sealing a loan move to Manchester United during the summer transfer window, as reported by Metro.
While the deadline day move didn't quite come off, it is thought United and Tottenham are monitoring the player's progress as January approaches as well, per John Edwards of the Daily Mail.
Should the exciting defender move to Chelsea, he may unsettle a player who has become part of the furniture in the Blues' back four. Indeed, his presence would certainly suggest Mourinho is looking to life after Cole.
Which left-back should Mourinho look to use in his first-team?
The veteran defender's spot has been rarely challenged since he joined the club in 2006, but with Mourinho favouring Cesar Azpilicueta and Cole's England spot coming under threat from Baines, the 32-year-old may begin considering his role.
Back in 2010, former Chelsea boss Ancelotti rubbished rumours suggesting he was interested in swapping Cole for Coentrao during his Premier League tenure, per Matt Monaghan of Goal.com.
Although Coentrao's reported deal would likely fill a stopgap between two eras for Chelsea, he is more than equipped to compete alongside the world's best.