Chelsea put ‘New Patrick Vieira’ top of their January hit-list

Chelsea are said to have put Guingamp midfielder Giannelli Imbula at the top of their January shortlist, after receiving highly encouraging scout reports from their top scouts.

The 20 year-old is a regular for Guingamp in the French second-tier, and has been watched closely by London rivals Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers.

Chelsea are confident of pipping their rivals to his signature, and are expected to reopen negotiations with the club within the next week.

Imbula has a £6million release clause in his contract, and is apparently unavailable for a penny less. Chelsea are likely to negotiate on the price, with the offer of letting them keep him in their playing squad until the end of the season.

Chelsea are in the hunt for a new box-to-box midfielder to replace the English veteran Frank Lampard. The 34 year-old is to be allowed to leave at the end of his contract in June, along with fellow England regular Ashley Cole.

Both players are currently playing in the first-team squad, but the Blues are looking to lower their wage budget, with both players currently receiving in excess of £100K a week.

I would like to see more of the French midfielder before passing my own judgement, but the reports sound like he would be a great signing for the future.

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