Chelsea steal a march on Manchester United in race for Guarin

Inter directors Piero Ausilio and Marco Branca were in London last week to discuss a deal after the Colombia international indicated he would prefer a move to Stamford Bridge
Fabrizio Romano

Chelsea look set to hand David Moyes and Manchester United another blow in the transfer market with Inter star Fredy Guarin ready to agree a move to Stamford Bridge.

It emerged last week that the Premier League champions had stepped up their pursuit of the versatile Colombian midfielder and had sent representatives to Italy to discuss a potential January transfer.

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Guarin, however, would prefer a move to the west London club and sees the chance to play under Jose Mourinho as a decisive factor.

Chelsea would be prepared to pay up to €15 million for the former Porto player, an offer which is being seriously considered by the Serie A club.

Inter directors Piero Ausilio and Marco Branca were in London last week to discuss the deal but the club's president Erick Thohir will have the final say as to whether the transfer will be sanctioned.  

Mourinho claimed earlier this month that he would not be looking to add to his squad in January, claiming: "It is my squad. For good and for bad, it is my squad. Of course, it is not the perfect squad but it is my squad and I work with them until the last day."

But with Frank Lampard struggling to contribute as much as he has done in the past and ageing enforcer Michael Essien reduced to a bit-part role this season, the Portuguese may see the opportunity to add Guarin's energy and industry too good to miss.

The 27-year-old's decision to snub United's interest would represent another damaging blow to Moyes' reputation in the transfer market following a shambolic summer which saw moves for Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara and Ander Herrera fail to materialise.

Moyes is understood to be under growing pressure to recruit well this winter having overspent significantly on his one major signing thus far, Marouane Fellaini, who has been far from an instant hit.

Guarin's contract at Inter runs until 2016 and his agent recently declined to comment publicly on United's efforts to sign him, except to state that "David Moyes appreciates him".