CHELSEA are reportedly eyeing up a move for Brighton and Argentina star Alexis Mac Allister if they cannot sign Enzo Fernandez in the January transfer window.
The Blues are being heavily linked with 21-year-old World Cup hero Fernandez.
However, the £106million release clause Benfica currently have written into his contract makes him a difficult acquisition during the mid-season window.
The Portuguese outfit, who are still in the Champions League, are also determined to keep hold of Fernandez until the end of the campaign.
The Seagulls midfielder, 24, played in each of his country’s matches in Qatar and was an important part of their triumph.
He only penned a new deal with Brighton in October to keep him at the club until 2025 – with the option of an additional year.
Yet despite his lengthy contract, Mac Allister is expected to be a much more affordable option than Fernandez – with Arsenal, Tottenham and Juventus also interested in him.
And the attraction of working with ex-manager Graham Potter could tempt Mac Allister to Stamford Bridge.
The South American praised the English coach while the pair were both still on the south coast.
When asked about Potter during their time together at Brighton, Mac Allister said: “Tactically he is amazing and the coaching staff are really good to help us in every aspect.
“He is really important for us. I am really pleased I am working with him.
“He will be an amazing coach and hopefully he will stay here for his life but at the same time we know that may be difficult.”
Along with Potter, Chelsea took five of his backroom staff with him to west London.
They also subsequently snatched left-back Marc Cucurella and Paul Winstanley – who will head up their recruitment team.
The Blues are keen to add to their squad in the January window.
Potter’s men sit eighth in the Premier League table, six points adrift of the Champions League places.
Next up for Chelsea is a trip to Nottingham Forest on Sunday.