Bengaluru, November 4: Premier League giants Chelsea are stepping up their pursuit of World Cup winner and Lyon captain Nabil Fekir, according to reports in France.
The France playmaker made six appearances from the bench in Russia to help Les Bleus to glory, including in their 4-2 final win over Croatia.
Stamford Bridge boss Maurizio Sarri is concerned about Eden Hazard's potential departure, with the Belgian talisman a long-term target of mighty Real Madrid and it is believed that he has already started looking for the Belgian's replacement. And reports in France claim that the Blues' scouts have placed 25-year-old Fekir under regular observation.
The Lyon-born academy product came close to a £50million move to Liverpool during the summer, but the deal did not go through for some strange reasons. It was believed that Liverpool wanted to lower the fee after getting to know about Fekir's knee problems and Lyon did not agree to that. Chelsea also showed interest in Fekir, despite the Reds leading the chase.
Fekir hit 23 goals in 39 games for Lyon last season but injuries have restricted him to a more low-key start to the current campaign, but he is still firmly on Chelsea's radar. And the attacking midfielder would relish the chance to join the Blues after failing to win a club trophy throughout his career.
He has collected a handful of individual Ligue 1 awards, however, Lyon have consistently been outshone by big-spending Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco in domestic action.
Fekir is under contract until 2020, and Lyon will hope to hang on to him for the rest of the season. However, if Hazard does move to Real Madrid in January, it will be hard for Lyon to keep hold onto their priced asset.