In a not-so-foreign feeling at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea could be first past the post in completing some big January transfer business this season after it emerged that Fredy Guarin is homing in on a West London switch.
The Inter midfielder has been linked with the Blues for several months now but it emerged on Dec. 18 that Guarin was in fact edging close to a £15 million move to the English giants.
Speaking to Caracol Radio (h/t Charles Reynolds of the Independent) the Colombian's agent Marcelo Ferreryra was quoted as saying:
I can confirm Chelsea's interest in Fredy and it's now up to the clubs to discuss a deal. We'll open talks once they have agreed terms. We have already been to London with Inter and met with Chelsea directors to make their interest formal.
There have been talks as part of negotiations. If both clubs reach an agreement, a transfer is an option, but Fredy is happy at Inter as well if they don't agree terms.
Speaking so openly about a deal that's still in infancy when compared to other cases of speculation is rare, but is significant in the sense that both parties are at least very genuine in their interest of striking a deal.
Despite the fact that Chelsea are currently second in the Premier League table and preparing to take on Galatasaray in the knockout stage of the Champions League, there is room for improvement at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues are coming to terms with the fact that Jose Mourinho's return to West London may not go as smoothly as his previous Chelsea reign.
This was exposed most recently in the club's 2-1 extra-time loss to Sunderland in the Capital One Cup, showing that there is most certainly still room for improvement in the squad.
Guarin has been among Inter's more impressive performers this term as the Italian giants have launched their latest attempt to return to Serie A's top spots.
The Blues have been far from shy in conducting transfer business in the last decade or so, regardless of the time of year, and it's a promising sign for the club that new blood may already be on the horizon.
Guarin's impact could be two-fold considering the box-to-box midfielder would be available for Champions League competition, making him a useful midseason purchase.
However, while adding some depth to the first team, one might argue that the 27-year-old isn't exactly the world-class signature that Chelsea should be looking to sign—or, at least, he isn't at that level just yet, lacking in consistency more than anything.
In any case, more than the signing itself, supporters of the club can feel encouraged that the Blues are delving into their pockets early with a view to improving their options. It's an important phase of the 2013/14 blueprint if Mourinho is to continue challenging for silverware.