Chelsea have been tracking Borussia Dortmund and England midfielder Jude Bellingham for over 12 months, according to reports.
It's been a meteoric rise for the 18-year-old midfielder, who has come to prominence since swapping Birmingham City for Dortmund last summer, impressing so much that he even earned a place in England's squad for the European Championships.
The talented teenager has started the new season in fine style too, providing an assist in the German Super Cup defeat to Bayern Munich and adding another against Hoffenheim last month in a match where he also scored.
Bellingham's performances for the Bundesliga giants have not gone unnoticed, and it has now emerged that European champions Chelsea have been keeping an eye on the midfielder for quite some time.
That's according to transfer insider Dean Jones, who believes the Blues will be taking an even keener interest in Bellingham as the season progresses.
He said: Jones said: "Jude Bellingham is one as well. Bellingham’s been on their radar for the past year or so. And I think that situation is one they’ll start to explore further in the new year.
"He’s signed a new contract at Dortmund but he’ll know that Dortmund are a selling club if you’re willing to put up the right price so I think they’ll start a get an idea in the new year about what his valuation is, what the pros and cons are of him versus Rice, and what kind of money they’re going to have to spend on those two players."
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Interest in Bellingham is thought to be high, with Manchester United and Liverpool also believed to be in the running for his signature.
For now though, the precocious talent will remain with Dortmund, where he can continue to develop away from the spotlight of the Premier League.
Jordan Henderson played alongside the former Birmingham man as England cruised to a 4-0 win over Andorra on Sunday, and after the match, the Liverpool captain paid tribute to his younger team-mate.
"He's a fantastic player," he said of Bellingham.
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"Even at such a young age he shows fantastic maturity on and off the field. You can see how hungry he is to be a top player and has all the attributes to do that.
"I was trying to help as much as I could but to be honest he is a top player who has shown that in the big games for Dortmund. I see him going from strength to strength all the time.
"I don't want to praise him too much and put too much pressure on him but he has a very good head on his shoulders, I'm told he has good people around him and a good family, and you can see that is an important part of him.
"I think he will be a top player going forward."
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