Chelsea aiming to beat Reds to 'new Matic' Grujic with £3m loan-back deal
Chelsea will attempt to beat Manchester United to the signing of Marko Grujic by making a January bid for the teenage midfielder and offering to loan him back to Red Star Belgrade.
Grujic, labelled 'the new Nemanja Matic' in Serbia, has for some time been watched by Chelsea scouts, who have become concerned by United's recent interest in the 19-year-old.
That has prompted Chelsea to resolve to accelerate their move for Grujic and bring forward a bid to January with the extra incentive of letting him stay at Red Star until the end of the season.
Despite Grujic having signed a three-year contract at Red Star in the summer, Chelsea are confident they will be able to sign him for around £3m.
Standing 6ft 3in, the central midfielder has represented Serbia at all youth levels and was a leading member of the squad who won the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand this year. He is yet to be capped at senior level.
Chelsea are braced for the fact that last season's Player of the Year, Eden Hazard, will continue to be linked with Real Madrid.
Belgium coach Marc Wilmots would welcome the move and contradicted Mourinho's assessment that the forward must work harder by highlighting his good form for the national team.
Mourinho took swipes at Wilmots and Real by stating he was too "ethical" to comment on matters at the Spanish club or Hazard's form with Belgium.
"When he (Hazard) is in the national team I don't open my mouth. Ever," said Mourinho.
"I don't comment about my players in the national team, if they play, if they don't, if they play well. I don't open my mouth. But some people don't have the same ethics and they comment when the players are at the club."
On Real's interest in Hazard, Mourinho added: "I don't speak about Real Madrid. I have ethics."
Champions Chelsea travel to Upton Park in 12th place in the Premier League, eight places below their hosts. (© Daily Telegraph, London)