Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has singled out Fulham defender Brede Hangeland as his top target to solve the Blues defensive shortage.
According to reports, the Italian is already making inquiries to persuade the giant centre-back to make the short trip to Stamford Bridge in the new year.
The Premier League champions fear England star and captain John Terry may be out of action until March because of a problematic nerve in his leg, which has forced him to see a specialist.
Hangeland has caught the eye at the heart of the Cottagers’ defence over the last 18 months – leading to firm interest from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
The Frenchman has so far been unable to persuade the Norwegian to make the move to north London, but Ancelotti is reportedly tracking Hangeland to solve his own defensive headache.
Injured defender Alex played through the pain barrier in the defeat at Birmingham on Saturday, but the Blues need a longer-term solution to their shortage of specialist central defenders.