AC Milan sporting director Paolo Maldini has confirmed the club have been trailing Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori since the summer.
With Milan leading the way in Serie A, the club’s paymasters are determined to press home their position of strength and are active players in January transfer window.
Forward Mario Mandzukic is reportedly only a medical away from securing a move to the club to provide support in attack for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The other end of the pitch is also an area that is set to be strengthened, with Tomori closing in on a loan move from Chelsea.
Maldini refused to confirm how close Milan were to getting the deal for the 23-year-old Tomori over the line, but if completed it would end a long-term chase.
“There is a big difference between almost caught and caught,” Maldini told Sky Sport Italia when asked about the move for Tomori. “It's a creative market.
“If we followed him and tried to catch him a few months ago, in the summer, it means that we have glimpsed the right characteristics in him to coexist with our defenders."
Blues boss Frank Lampard feels a loan move will be beneficial for Tomori, although reports suggest his long-term future could be away from Stamford Bridge as Milan have negotiated a purchase option.
“This year we have five centre-backs, so the predicament is difficult for centre-backs who are not playing regularly,” Lampard said.
"And that's why he may go out on loan for his development, he's a young player and he's had a huge rise in the last two or so seasons since I've been working with him. That will continue and we'll find the best path for that."
Croatian forward Mandzukic is expected to be a Milan player before the week is out and Maldini feels his characteristics will suit the club well.
"We know his character well,” Maldini said. “We have direct contact with the coach who must give his okay to the deal. The club decides.
"In football, just the 'good guys' are not enough, not that Mario isn't.
“The group also draws on those who are slightly different; I’m not talking about Mario but in general."