The Daily Mail had a new name to link the Blues to last night, hinting that Jose Mourinho's side have interest in a young English center back playing abroad. Here's what they had to say:
"Chelsea are leading the race for England Under 21 defender Eric Dier. The 19-year-old was a regular for Sporting last season but has a £4.2million buy-out clause."
DIer is a 19-year old who stands 6'2" tall. He's capable of playing any position in defense, and has also made appearances in the midfield during his time in Portugal.
The youngster has been featuring at the youth level for England quite a bit over the past several years, but because he's been living in Portugal since the age of ten, he'll never count as homegrown, club trained, or association trained if he makes the move to England. He'll be eligible to play at the senior level for both England and Portugal, so it will be interesting to see if either of those countries call him up soon to assure he's cap-tied.
As far as this business of a 'race' for his signature is concerned, it seems pretty straightforward to me. The player has a rather small buyout in his contract and there are no longer third party ownership issues to be concerned about, so a club that has serious interest won't have many complications.
Should Chelsea actually sign Dier, I'd have a hard time picturing him with the first team this season. He'd be a buy for the future, and would almost certainly be spending the season on loan. We'll need to watch Sporting closely over the next several days now, as the Bruma situation is expected to be resolved shortly as well.