Chelsea have had a £22 million bid for Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric rejected by the north London club, according to reports.
The bid was dismissed out of hand by Spurs within two hours of it being received, but Chelsea are expected to return soon with an improved bid.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is believed to be looking to rebuild the squad at Stamford Bridge while simultaneously reducing its average age, after a relatively disappointing campaign which saw the club lose out to Manchester United in both the Premier League and Champions League.
At 25, Modric would appear to fit the bill on both counts, although Spurs manager Harry Redknapp has previously insisted that club chairman Daniel Levy has vowed not to sell the Croatian playmaker this summer at any price.
"If clubs the size of Manchester United and Chelsea are prepared to offer him Champions League football and massive wages, you would have to be very naive to think it wouldn't turn Luka's head," Redknapp acknowledged recently. "But I have been assured by the chairman that he is not prepared to sell him under any circumstances.
"And it's fair to say he's not happy about the unwanted attention and continuing speculation surrounding Luka.
"I have said on many occasions he is irreplaceable and it would be a massive disaster for the club if he was allowed to leave."
Modric has been linked with a move away from White Hart Lane this summer after the club failed to secure qualification for the Champions League, and has hardly distanced himself from such speculation with some of his recent quotes.
"I'm a Tottenham player and will be in London on July 7 to begin preparing for the season," Modric has been quoted as saying. "But I want to say that transfers could occur later. In England it is often the case they happen on the last day of the transfer period, August 31.
"So it is pointless to worry about anything now. If my situation changes after the start of preparation it would not be a problem."
Modric joined Tottenham from Dynamo Zagreb in 2008 for a fee in the region of £16m.