Manchester City are interested in a January deal for Bournemouth's Nathan Ake - despite a contract clause seemingly putting Chelsea in pole position to bring him back to Stamford Bridge.
The West London club inserted a £40m buy-back clause into the centre-back's £20m deal to Bournemouth in 2017, and they are now understood to want Ake back after their FIFA transfer ban was lifted.
But City are also understood to want to sign Ake if they can next month, having failed to replace Vincent Kompany in the summer and suffered as a result of the long-term injury to Aymeric Laporte.
Manager Pep Guardiola recently insisted they "cannot" sign anyone due to the difficulties of the winter window, and that he "does not want" anyone either, having adapted Fernandinho to centre-back.
But the Spaniard also conceded that "when an incredible opportunity comes in January for the next four or five or six years, maybe we can think about it".
At 24, the already established Netherlands international Ake is seen as a future star by a host of top clubs, including Tottenham and Everton, having developed well under Eddie Howe on the south coast.
But City and Chelea could find themselves in the running for an injured player, with Ake soon set to find out the results of a scan on a hamstring problem picked up at the weekend.
Earlier this season, Chelsea scout Piet de Visser urged the club to re-sign Ake in an interview with a Dutch newspaper, stating "I hope they buy him back. That boy is perfect for them and he has played with (manager Frank) Lampard."
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Ake came through the same Chelsea youth academy that developed players now thriving under Lampard including the Premier League's second-highest scorer Tammy Abraham, centre-back Fikayo Tomori and midfielder Mason Mount.
But despite their growth under Lampard, Chelsea are still keen to sign new players in January, having been banned from doing so in the summer, and Sky Sports News has already reported they have been tracking the CSKA Moscow striker Fedor Chalov, of whom owner Roman Abramovich is a big fan.
City, meanwhile, have also been considering the two centre-backs starring in Leicester's resurgence this season - Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans, whom they previously tried to sign from West Brom in 2017.
How to follow the January transfer window
Sky Sports will bring you the very latest news from the January transfer market with the return of three shows.
Start your day with Good Morning Transfers at 9am as our team of reporters bring you the latest news and insight. Transfer Talk then follows at midday delivering analysis of the biggest stories. Then join us at 7pm for the definitive round-up of the day's news with The Transfer Show.
Meanwhile, the Transfer Talk podcast will also be back at the turn of the year with more expert analysis from here and across the continent.
And as well as tuning into Sky Sports News, don't miss a thing with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.