Widespread reports in the English media on Saturday suggest Chelsea are considering joining the race to sign Arsenal contract rebel Samir Nasri.
Nasri's current deal runs out next summer and Arsenal risk losing him for nothing if they do not cash in on him before the transfer window closes next month. The player has so far rejected an offer of £90,000-a-week to stay at the Emirates.
Chelsea's primary target this summer has been Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Luka Modric, but Spurs have steadfastly refused to entertain any offers for their Croatia international. Arsenal could now switch to Nasri as they look to add more youth and dynamism to their side.
The player is due to return to Arsenal this week after the summer break and head for showdown talks with manager Arsene Wenger, when he is expected to formally request to leave the club.
Selling a player who, for the first half of last season at least, was one of the Premier League's top performers to a rival will not sit easily with Wenger. But with a fee in excess of £20 million mooted, and little interest from abroad, the Gunners look like being backed into a corner.
As soon as Nasri informs Arsenal of his desire to leave, Man United are expected to lodge a bid which will place added pressure on the Gunners.
Wenger sold Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure to Manchester City two years ago, transfers which proved to be a shrewd piece of business with neither player excelling at Eastlands. But selling Nasri seems a different prospect.
One player who seems certain to leave the Emirates this week is Gael Clichy, another of Wenger's players who this week entered the final year of his contract. Man City have usurped Liverpool in the race for the France international and should complete the deal within days.