Blues want Belgian at Goodison Park.
Chelsea have identified Marouane Fellaini as their preferred replacement for Frank Lampard and are planning to trigger a buyout clause in the Everton midfielder’s contract at the end of the season.
It is understood that the five-year deal signed by the Belgian in 2011 allows him to leave Goodison Park if Everton receive a bid of £22 million or more from a Champions League club.
Chelsea were able to take advantage of such a buyout clause in Demba Ba’s contract with Newcastle United to sign the Senegal striker last week and will use similar tactics in an attempt to recruit Fellaini. Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, is giving consideration to making a sensational offer for Lampard to join the Barclays Premier League leaders and has asked to be kept informed about his intentions.
Lampard is believed to have reservations about joining another English club after 12 years at Chelsea, but an offer from Old Trafford would be difficult to resist.
Everton enjoyed a superb 2012 under David Moyes, trailing only the Manchester duo for Premier League points won in the calendar year.
But 2013 could prove a whole lot trickier for the Merseyside outfit, particularly if talismanic playmaker Marouane Fellaini is sold this month.
The Belgian started the season in fine form, dominating current leaders Man United and scoring the only goal in 1-0 opening-day victory for the Toffees at Goodison Park.
The towering midfielder has not looked back and has scored an impressive 8 goals in just 16 Premier League appearances this term, as Everton mount a genuine challenge for the top four.
But Fellaini stunned Toffees fans in August by admitting that could leave the club as soon this month, citing a desire to play in the Champions League.
Moyes is a realist and pragmatically conceded soon after that he would be forced to sell the 25-year-old for the ‘right’ price, quoted by the source to be around £22m. Like Joleon Lescott, Jack Rodwell and Wayne Rooney before him, Fellaini is likely to eventually leave Goodison.
Real Madrid, Manchester United and Arsenal have all been credited with an interest in the former Standard Liege man but there is growing speculation that Fellaini will be signed by Chelsea as a long-term replacement for Frank Lampard.
Certainly the Belgium international possesses the goal-scoring ability to replace the England star and has the intelligence and physicality to play behind the front man or in a deeper midfield role.
Fellaini’s temperament remains in question and the big-haired star was banned for three-matches last month for several off the ball incidents involving Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross.
Everton coped well without Fellaini during his suspension, suggesting the future will not be too bleak if he is sold, but undoubtedly Chelsea will have gained a fine player if they land him this month.
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