By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes
Chelsea scouts will travel to Palermo this weekend to run the rule the club’s over in-form striker Paulo Dybala.
Football Insider sources have learned that Stamford Bridge backroom staff have identified the 21-year-old Argentinian as a potential summer target as the Premier League leaders step up plans to reinforce their front line.
Scouts have been instructed to assess Dybala in Saturday evening’s fixture against Serie A leaders Juventus, which takes place at the Stadio Renzo Barbera.
Juve, who lead Italy’s top division by 11 points and have conceded just 14 goals in 26 league matches this season, are regarded as the best test of Dybala’s ability to perform against marquee opponents.
The Argentine has shot to prominence with his displays for 11th-placed Palermo this season, scoring 12 Serie A goals as well as providing seven assists in the competition.
His form has caught the eye of scouts from Europe’s leading clubs and Chelsea have joined those who are closely monitoring him. The Londoners are likely to also use the trip to Italy to run the rule over Juve’s midfield kingpin Paul Pogba, who is a long-term target of the club.
Chelsea are in the market for a mobile young forward who can take some off the goalscoring burden off the shoulders of first-choice front man Diego Costa.
Dybala has only 15 months remaining on his contract and Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini has admitted he is likely to be sold this summer.
The Palermo spearhead is valued at $40m (£28.5m) by the Serie A club, who Zamparini has claimed has what it takes to become the new Lionel Messi.
“For me, Dybala is the Messi of the future,” Zamparini told an Italian radio station. “I value him at $40m but we will have to see what happens at the end of the season. There has been a lot of talk about Dybala, but his agent is just doing his work. I have a good relationship with him.”