Aston Villa are eyeing Danny Drinkwater – but Chelsea look ready to dig their heels in.
The England international was on loan at Burnley.
However, he’s had a torrid time at Turf Moor with form and fitness issues.
An end to the agreement was agreed, which has left Drinkwater searching for a new team.
Villa are sniffing around although he won’t be allowed to leave on the cheap.
To snare him on a short-term agreement, the Blues have demanded all of his £110,000-a-week wages are paid in full.
Drinkwater’s career has nosedived since he won a Premier League title with Leicester in 2016.
Chelsea paid £35m for his services a year later but he’s struggled to establish himself in west London.
“He just hasn’t had the pitch time,” Burnley boss Sean Dyche said last week.
“He has been a credit to himself with his professionalism, apart from the incident.
“He has looked after himself and tried to be part of the group.
“He has just not had the game time that he needs.
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“I like him as a player and a character.
“There was an incident that was unfortunate and cost a lot more time than we thought.
“My respect for him as high as a person and a player.”
Villa desperately need fresh faces as Dean Smith looks to steer his side away from the drop zone.
A new forward is a top priority with Brazil international Wesley ruled out for the rest of the season.
More negotiations with Chelsea are expected with Smith eager to draft in veteran target man Olivier Giroud.