Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are ready to rival Chelsea in the race to sign Daniele De Rossi.
The Roma midfielder met with the club’s sporting director Walter Sabatini earlier this week to discuss his future after returning from international duty at the Confederations Cup with Italy.
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Chelsea opened preliminary talks with the Serie A club about signing De Rossi in June, while Madrid and PSG are understood to be also closely monitoring his situation.
Jose Mourinho is a long-standing admirer of De Rossi and tried to sign him in 2006 during his first spell at Stamford Bridge.
Competition from Madrid and PSG could drive up the price for a transfer which is also complicated by the major hurdle of the midfield anchorman's wage demands.
De Rossi, who was the subject of an offer from Manchester City last summer before committing himself to his boyhood club for another campaign, is believed to be one of the highest earners in Serie A, with a net salary of €6m-a-year, equivalent to around €222,000-a-week if taxes were included.
De Rossi joined Roma at 17 and has spent his entire professional career at the club, as well as becoming a key player for the Azzurri.
Despite having a contract that runs until 2017 and being a huge favourite of supporters at the Serie A club, De Rossi is understood to be interested in a new challenge and testing himself in the Premier League.
Chelsea have agreed a deal with Vitesse to sign 20-year-old midfielder Marco van Ginkel, as revealed by Goal in May, and have secured Frank Lampard on a one-year contract, but are still keen to reinforce a central midfield that was at times left threadbare during a relentless schedule of fixtures in the second half of last season.
David Luiz was used as an emergency midfielder on a number of occasions but Mourinho wants an experienced operator to provide competition for Lampard, Ramires and John Obi Mikel, who has been the subject of speculation about a move to Galatasaray.