By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes
Chelsea have joined the race to sign Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton this summer, Football Insider sources understand.
The Premier League champions are ready to fight Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham for the £20million-rated France international.
Football Insider has learned that Chelsea have compiled a shortlist of central midfield targets that include Schneiderlin and Atletico Madrid’s Koke, as well as even more ambitious possibilities like Juventus kingpin Paul Pogba.
The Londoners had also been interested in signing Sami Khedira, but the Germany World Cup winner is on the verge of signing for Juventus on a free transfer.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho wants a top-quality central midfielder to provide competition for Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas, who is likely to be used more frequently in the No10 role next season.
Arsenal have been on the trail of Schneiderlin for two years and are keen to land a significant midfield signing this summer but have not yet made a move for the Frenchman. United and Spurs, who made a bid for Schneiderlin last summer, are also monitoring his situation.
The 25-year-old has made it clear in the aftermath of the recently completed Premier League campaign that he wants to leave Southampton for an England-based Champions League club this summer.
“I think my decision is made,’ he told French radio station RMC. ’I learned a lot last season. The goal is to stay in England. It is a championship that I like and where I have a lot of fun. If I leave Southampton, it is for a club that plays better than the Europa League.
“There are ongoing discussions but nothing is done. But of course the Champions League is my goal. If I leave Southampton it will be for a club in the Champions League. If a club pays the right amount for me, it will be time to leave. The amount? I have no idea but I will not leave for a small price. Southampton is known to be a good seller club, the price should be high enough.’
Given that he still has two years remaining on his current deal, Southampton are prepared to hold firm again and are not willing to let him leave for less than £20m.