Chelsea are reportedly considering a move to hijack Newcastle United’s bid to sign Atletico Madrid full-back Kieran Tripper in the January transfer window.
The 31-year-old, who joined Atletico for £20million from Tottenham, is poised to seal a return to England this month after two-and-a-half years in the Spanish capital.
Trippier won La Liga with Diego Simeone’s side last season and has been an integral member of the Rojiblancos squad, making 85 appearances in all competitions and laying on 11 assists.
But it is understood he is keen to return to his homeland and there is no shortage of interest in bringing back the England international.
Arsenal and Manchester United apparently cooled their interest over the summer when they were quoted €50m (£43.7m) for the former Spurs and Burnley defender.
Newcastle have submitted a formal bid to the Spanish champions in an attempt to strike a deal, although The Athletic reports that their first offer is likely to be turned down.
And that could open the door for Blues boss Thomas Tuchel, who is considering a late move to persuade Trippier to head back to London amid a defensive injury crisis in his squad.
Reece James has been ruled out for at least two months with a torn hamstring, while Ben Chilwell is out for the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
The Guardian suggest that James’s absence could prompt Chelsea to try to sign Trippier this month, who wants to return to the Premier League and has been in talks with Newcastle.
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The versatile player, who can play at right or left-back or as a wing-back on either side, may represent the experienced option Tuchel is looking for to bolster his squad depth.
The German head coach has also reportedly shortlisted Everton’s Lucas Digne and Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico as potential additions in January if his move falls through.
After receiving Newcastle's bid, Simeone revealed it is now up to Trippier to decide whether he leaves the Spanish giants or stays put.
"We have always had to live with these situations; important and very good players within the team who have possibilities of leaving," Simeone told reporters.
"Then it will depend on what the footballer himself wants.
"Consequently, we will try to follow what is happening and look for solutions.
"He is an important player for our team and we coaches can't do too much in terms of players' decisions, we can only tell Trippier how important he is for the team."
Newcastle are desperate for new signings to add to the squad as Eddie Howe attempts to avoid a disastrous relegation from the top flight.
The Magpies currently sit 19th in the Premier League with one win from their opening 19 games and have conceded 42 goals over that period of time.
Signing a player of Trippier’s experience and ability would no doubt go some way to improving their solidity at the back.
But convincing the Englishman to snub a move to European champions Chelsea over relegation strugglers Newcastle may prove a difficult task for Howe and the club’s director Amanda Staveley, who is in charge of dealing with transfers.
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