By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Chelsea are lining up a January swoop for Tottenham defender Ben Davies, according to a report.
Football site ESPN FC claim the Wales international is top of Antonio Conte’s wanted list as he aims to strengthen the Blues’ backline and boost the club’s allotment of homegrown players.
It is said that Davies had been a Chelsea target during the summer transfer window before they signed David Luiz and Marcos Alonso.
The report states that has not ended Conte’s interest in Davies, who has been identified as a player who can slot into the left side of the three-man defensive system that Conte favours and used with such success at Juventus.
The 23-year-old played there in Wales’ heroic journey to the European Championship semi-final, but can also be used as a traditional left-back.
Mauricio Pochettino has used Davies in a flat back four in recent weeks while Danny Rose has been out injured, starting him against Stoke, Monaco and in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Middlesbrough.
Davies is also set to play at left-back in Tottenham’s Champions League match against CSKA Moscow in Russia on Tuesday night.
Pochettino switched his full-backs for runs of games last season but England full-back Rose made more Premier League starts, with Davies in the line-up 14 times. The Welshman made 27 appearances for the London giants last season.
ESPN FC claim Tottenham are reluctant to lose the player and are unlikely to welcome any interest from a rival such as Chelsea.
Davies has made 59 appearances in all competitions for Spurs since his £10.75million transfer from Swansea in the summer of 2014.
Spurs stand to make a £10million profit on the player were they to cash in on him.
Davies’ versatility and the potential shown over the summer has sparked interest from Chelsea as they step up their search for UK talent.
It is part of their plan to look ahead for when John Terry, 36 this season, eventually hangs up his boots.
Premier League rules means eight homegrown players have to be named in a club’s squad.
In other Tottenham transfer news, Pochettino was close to an audacious transfer of a Real Madrid sensation.