The immediate future of David Luiz is something that's been discussed at length around Stamford Bridge of late, the question at hand being whether or not the Brazilian international will depart Chelsea in the winter transfer window.
Should the former Benfica star indeed move on from his west London surroundings, Villarreal's Mateo Musacchio is being lined up as a successor.
According to Colin Harvey of the Express, Musacchio's impressive form in recent months has been enough to earn him some serious European attention.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has indicated he might have to start shutting up shop as he can't rely on his forwards to win them games. One way to do that is to bolster his defensive options.
Chelsea and City are likely to make a move in January, but Musacchio might want to hold out until the end of the season to see if the Yellow Submarine can make an unlikely charge for the Champions League.
Villarreal have been a shock to all this term, amassing the third stingiest defence in the league and conceding an average of only one goal per game in their first 16 outings of the campaign.
Musacchio has been a large part of that after playing every minute of the season thus far, Marcelino Garcia Toral's side relying on a very specific core of players for their rise to fifth in La Liga.
Last week, Jose Mourinho was reported by Jamie Sanderson of the Metro as warding Barca off Luiz, but the article goes on to claim that the Spanish champions are preparing a £25 million bid for the Chelsea star.
Given the difference in their profiles, this would certainly leave Chelsea with a profit were they to then sign Musacchio as a replacement, finances being just one of the benefits to such a merry-go-round.
The deal is only helped further by the fact that Villarreal are attempting contract negotiations with their player, who's out of contract in the summer, as confirmed by Sport Witness:
Mateo Musacchio is a 23 year old Argentine CB who can also play as a DM, he's free in the summer.— Sport Witness (@Sport_Witness) December 19, 2013
Three years younger than Luiz, the Villarreal starlet has shown great promise in Spain's top flight irrespective of his age.
Bundesliga Football's Ross Dunbar and the Guardian's Sid Lowe recently praised the defender for his performances this season:
@sidlowe It's only the second time I've seen Villarreal since they came back up, so I'm quite impressed. Musacchio, in particular.— Ross Dunbar (@rossdunbar93) December 14, 2013
Squawka statistics show that the central defender has been successful in over 70 percent of his tackling attempts, not to mention winning half of his 64 headed duels.
Luiz's eccentricity off the pitch translates to his actions when playing and where the South American has shown himself to be somewhat brash in his ball-playing approach, Musacchio is a more reserved character, often opting for the safer option.
Although John Terry and Gary Cahill would undoubtedly remain as the first-choice pairing in Jose Mourinho's defence, the Argentinian international would be ample as an understudy, and with some very respectable figures in front of him as mentors.
Luiz has had some injury woes but has found himself out of the picture even when fit for periods this season.
One South American could be swapped for another in west London this January, and Chelsea will come out the better for it were such a deal to materialise.