Chelsea have sent representatives to Poland to discuss a potential deal for Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhailo Mudryk.
The 22-year-old has been a long-term target for Arsenal, who were believed to be close to completing the signing of the Ukraine international.
The PA news agency understands, however, that Chelsea have now made their move, with a delegation visiting Poland, where the Ukrainian club are temporarily based, in an attempt to steal a march on their London rivals.
While both clubs are believed to have offered a similar amount, Chelsea have structured a deal which would see Shakhtar receive more money up front, with more favourable add-ons than those being negotiated with Arsenal.
Mudryk, who has played just 65 club games across his career to date, was named Shakhtar’s player of the year on Saturday as they continue to train in Turkey ahead of the new season.
He has posted several Instagram messages seemingly suggesting he is keen on a move to the Emirates Stadium, but now Chelsea could move into pole position to land the promising forward.
Blues owner Todd Boehly has already sanctioned moves for Benoit Badiashile, David Fofana and Andrey Santos in the January window, while adding the loan signing of Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid.
Felix was sent off in Thursday’s 3-1 loss at neighbours Fulham, a result which leaves Chelsea 19 points adrift of Premier League leaders Arsenal.