Chelsea's attempts to rid themselves of Marko Marin have been scuppered, after Anderlecht rejected the chance to take the disappointing on-loan winger permanently. Meanwhile, the Blues have entered the running to sign highly touted Palermo forward Paulo Dybala.
Marin's imminent return to Stamford Bridge has been reported by HLN Sport's Kristof Terreur:
That will conclude a dismal stint with the Belgian club. Marin has made just eight appearances domestically. His two goals have both come in the UEFA Europa League, per WhoScored.com.
Given Chelsea's ample options behind the striker, it's more than likely Marin will now begin a search for a new club ahead of the summer.
But the German's return to an already bloated squad hasn't stopped Chelsea from taking the first steps toward signing Dybala. A report from Sky Italia (h/t Metro's Jamie Sanderson) claims the Premier League leaders have contacted Dybala's agent over a potential £28.9 million move.
That could put the Blues in direct competition with London rivals Arsenal. The Gunners are reportedly ready to meet with Palermo officials, according to another report from Sanderson, which also cited claims from Spanish website Fichajes.net suggesting the Argentine attacker will accept a move to north London.
For a further layer of competition, Italian website Football-Italia.net has suggested Dybala will actually opt for Serie A powerhouse Juventus. That report contains claims from Sky Italia detailing Arsenal's planned meetings with Palermo that are apparently to be held in Milan over the next 24 hours but likely to bear no fruit.
The extent of the competition is an indicator of Dybala's rapidly rising reputation. The 21-year-old has bagged 12 goals and seven assists in Italy's top flight so far this season, per Whoscored.com.
His pace, trickery, deceptive strength and mercurial left foot make him a lethal and highly versatile addition to any forward line. But do Chelsea even need him?
After all, manager Jose Mourinho added Juan Cuadrado in January. The Colombian took his place alongside Willian and Eden Hazard as wide forwards in Chelsea's fluid front three.
The Blues have also been heavily linked with Douglas Costa, another roving forward. The Brazilian star has even openly expressed his desire to move to Stamford Bridge this summer, per FourFourTwo reporter Marcus Alves.
Yet B/R's Garry Hayes feels a player like Real Madrid midfield schemer Luka Modric would be a better fit than another wide forward:
Perhaps Dybala is seen as a different option to striker Diego Costa through the middle. But while Didier Drogba is inching toward the end of his career and Loic Remy hasn't really been a hit, Dybala isn't a natural centre-forward.
He's certainly unlikely to move for a mere squad role, especially given the opportunities available elsewhere.
The Blues don't really need Dybala and would be better served spending his asking price on retooling an ageing and plodding defence.