AC Milan hope to complete their loan move for Fikayo Tomori in time for the Chelsea defender to make his debut on Saturday.
The Italian giants aim to wrap up their loan deal for Tomori so that the England defender can feature against Atalanta this weekend, the PA news agency understands.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has insisted he has a “long-term plan” to help Tomori reach his full potential, and do so with the Blues.
But Lampard has been unable to find a regular first-team role for Tomori this term, despite the 23-year-old featuring consistently in the first half of last season.
Thiago Silva’s summer arrival left the Blues with five senior centre-backs, with Lampard admitting it would be impossible to give all of them regular football.
Tomori has found himself behind Kurt Zouma, Toni Rudiger and Andreas Christensen in Chelsea’s pecking order, and has opted for a loan move to find regular action.
Tomori’s loan is expected to run until the end of the campaign, with AC Milan understood to be retaining an option to buy in the summer for £25million.
The Rossoneri are not thought to be in the financial position to make good on any permanent summer transfer purchase, and in any case Chelsea continue to insist that Tomori’s long-term future remains in west London.
The Blues will head into Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round clash against Luton with boss Lampard under increasing pressure after six defeats in eight Premier League games.
Monday’s 2-0 loss at Leicester has intensified the pressure on the former Chelsea and England midfielder, with the 42-year-old acutely aware he needs a winning run – and fast – to solidify his position.
Former Paris St Germain boss Thomas Tuchel and ex-Juventus manager Max Allegri are both out of work and understood to be keen on the Chelsea challenge.
Chelsea backed Lampard to spend £220million on a summer Stamford Bridge squad overhaul, but big-name signings Timo Werner and Kai Havertz are struggling to acclimatise to Premier League rigours.
Lampard is likely to be given more time to reverse the current slump in form, but a top-four Premier League finish has always been a minimum requirement.