The Sunday Express says Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas is believed to be prepared to go head to head with mentor Jose Mourinho for Palermo’s Argentinian playmaker Pastore.
Bringing in a world class midfielder became the Portuguese manager’s top priority last night after it was revealed that Michael Essien could be out for several weeks with another knee injury.
But Villas-Boas faces serious competition from Mourinho’s Real Madrid for Pastore, who was voted young player of the season in Italy’s Serie A last year. Malaga and Manchester City are also believed to be tracking him.
Palermo’s president, Maurizio Zamparini, revealed Chelsea’s interest in a whizkid they imported from the south American club Huracan for £5m two years ago after Diego Maradona gave him his first international cap.
And even though Pastore’s contract doesn’t expire until 2014, Zamparini admitted they were resigned to losing him.