CHELSEA’S search for an inspirational leader in the dressing room has reportedly seen them show an interest in Newcastle star Jamaal Lascelles.
The Blues have been looking for someone to replace John Terry as the heartbeat of their side since he left the club last summer.
And now it appears they have been impressed by the way Lascelles has developed into the figurehead of the Newcastle side over the past couple of seasons.
The Mirror claim his leadership skills and no-frills defending is exactly what Chelsea are looking for this summer.
And they say the London club are preparing to make a £30million bid for the 24-year-old over the close season in an effort to get their man.
Lascelles has grown into an impressive centre-back at St James’ Park since being snapped up from Nottingham Forest as a promising youngster in 2014.
Despite his young age he quickly became a powerful voice in the Newcastle dressing room and was named club captain by Rafa Benitez two years ago.
Benitez lent on Lascelles heavily to help lead the club to promotion from the Championship last season – although there had been concerns whether he would have the finesse to shine in the Premier League.
But he has taken his game to another level this season, and is emerging as one of the best young English defenders in the top flight.
England boss Gareth Southgate has checked on Lascelles this season, and though the World Cup is likely to come too quickly for his inclusion, he is understood to have been close to a call up.
Chelsea know they need to bring in some quality to their squad over the summer after seeing themselves fall short in their defence of the title.
But they also feel they need to add some steel and leadership to their squad, with the defence exposed at times this season.
The club had hoped Gary Cahill would become the natural successor to Terry, who left Stamford Bridge last summer to join Aston Villa.
But Cahill’s form has dipped massively over the course of the campaign and he now struggles to get a start in Antonio Conte’s side.
Andreas Christensen has done well during his breakthrough season in the first team squad, but is still prone to mistakes.
And David Luiz has reverted to type over the last year, struggling to perform consistently well over the campaign.