Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari is planning a surprise move for Benfica winger Angel di Maria.

The Times says Scolari sees the young Argentine as the ideal replacement for crocked midfielder Joe Cole, who has been ruled out for the season.

Scolari views Ángel Di María, Benfica's Argentina winger, as his best long-term prospect, though he also fancies Wigan's Luis Antonio Valencia.

Benfica have accepted that Di María will leave sooner rather than later, although they are reluctant to sell him while they remain in contention for the Portuguese title.

Scolari's negotiating position with Peter Kenyon, the Chelsea chief executive, is helped by his refusal, unlike some of his predecessors, to complain in public about a lack of transfer funds and has taken full responsibility for his side's inconsistent performances.