Treatment of Victor Moses may cost Reds Ryan Bertrand deal
Chelsea are ready to tell Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers to look elsewhere for players over concerns regarding Victor Moses.
That could put the Stamford Bridge club's good relationship with former employee Rodgers under strain and cut off one of the Northern Irishman's main sources of transfer targets.
Moses was the latest Chelsea player to link up with Rodgers on a season-long loan in the summer, despite interest from a host of clubs including Everton, Southampton, West Brom and Norwich.
The deal is in danger of turning sour, however, with Moses struggling for opportunities and facing the prospect of spending the second half of the season on the Anfield bench.
Liverpool have shown an interest in signing left-back Ryan Bertrand on loan or permanently this month, but Chelsea will attempt to resist either deal. Bertrand is likely to be advised to look at the struggles Moses has faced if Liverpool make a firm move for him.
Chelsea believe there are better options than moving to Anfield available to the 24-year-old.
Fulham are also interested in signing Bertrand, who could also be used as part of a big-money Chelsea bid for Southampton's Luke Shaw.
Rodgers still has a number of old friends at Chelsea, not least manager Jose Mourinho, who he worked under as head youth coach and reserve-team boss at Stamford Bridge.
Rodgers has used his Chelsea links throughout his management career to sign players. He took Bertrand on loan at Reading, signed striker Fabio Borini on loan from the Blues for Swansea City and snapped up Scott Sinclair on a permanent transfer.
Those deals were all successful, but Rodgers also took Josh McEachran on loan to Swansea in 2012 and the young midfielder played only 215 minutes for the Welsh club.
Chelsea accepted that Rodgers had difficulties squeezing McEachran into his side because of a superb run of form and the highly successful signing of Gylfi Sigurdsson. But in an interview while on loan at Middlesbrough last January, McEachran was asked what he learned at Swansea and replied: "Nothing." When asked for an opinion on Rodgers, he said: "I'll pass on that."
Since becoming Liverpool manager, Rodgers has continued to look at potential signings at Chelsea. Daniel Sturridge went to Anfield on a permanent deal last January and Moses signed on a season-long loan in the summer. Sturridge has flourished under Rodgers, forcing his way into the England side and scoring 11 Liverpool goals this season before suffering an ankle injury.
Chelsea have a scientific approach to allowing their players out on loan, based on how often they are likely to play and how they can develop at a club and under another manager.
It was felt there were better options available to Moses than Liverpool, but Rodgers persuaded the player that he could make a similar impact on his career as he made with Sturridge.
Having pushed for Liverpool over Everton and Southampton, Moses has started just eight games this season and has largely been restricted to late substitute appearances over recent months. The Nigeria international was hauled off at half-time in the FA Cup victory over League One Oldham with the match still goalless.
Chelsea are now fearful that Moses will spend the second half of the season stuck on the sidelines or only making cameo appearances at the end of games. He has fallen behind the rejuvenated Raheem Sterling in the Anfield pecking order and is seen very much as a squad player.
Despite their worries, Chelsea are not thought to be exploring the possibility of cutting short Moses' loan. Liverpool are also reluctant to lose any players with the season going so well, particularly before they make any January signings.
Another Chelsea player who has not played as much as he would have liked this season is Juan Mata and the Spaniard has emerged as a loan target of Atletico Madrid.
Mata's father acts as his agent and is expected to travel to England for talks with Chelsea over the 25-year-old's future and the interest of Atletico, who would like to take him on loan until the end of the season with a view to a permanent deal. (© Daily Telegraph, London)