Chelsea have identified Watford winger Roberto Pereyra as a possible summer signing next year to replace Eden Hazard at Stamford Bridge.
The Belgian winger has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid recently and has yet to sign a contract extension with the Blues, according to the Daily Express.
Chelsea executives fear that it is only a matter of time before the 27-year-old leaves the club and are already looking at players capable of filling his boots, as per the Express.
The Express reports that the man top of their list at this stage is surprise Premier League sensation Pereyra, who has been the Hornet’s standout player this season, scoring five goals in 11 appearances.
The Argentine midfielder moved to Vicarage Road from Juventus back in 2016 and featured prominently last year, but he seems to have taken his game to a new level over the last few months, impressing with his dribbling skills and effectiveness in the final third of the pitch.
Pereyra is the same age as Hazard and plays in the same position, but he is a long way from being considered in the same class, having failed to impress during his big break in Turin before being shipped off to Watford after just one year.
However, the enigmatic attacker is still supremely talented and may fancy another crack at the top as he approaches the prime years of his career.
Perhaps if Chelsea were to use any money made in the sale of Hazard to sign Pereyra and one other forward it would represent very good business for the club but at the moment, the prospect of either man being part of a transfer deal is still a long way off.
The Watford talisman will have to maintain his high level of performance between now and May to keep himself in the shop window, with Blues boss Maurizio Sarri poised to pounce in the market thereafter.