Chelsea target Lucas Digne has started talks with Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa in recent days.
Everton’s left-back is attracting interest from both Premier League sides, as well as Newcastle United who are underdogs in the race for his signing.
Chelsea’s inaction when signing Digne following their public row with Toffees manager Rafael Benitez is due to their main priority still being to remind Emerson of his Lyon loan.
What’s wrong with Emerson?
The terms of Chelsea’s loan deal with the Ligue 1 giants prohibit a recall due to the presence of a call option in the contract.
The French side are unlikely to activate the option unless they finish in the top three and qualify for the Champions League next season, but they are protected by their contract.
They ideally want to keep Emerson as he is one of the best players at the club this season.
However, Thomas Tuchel clearly wants Emerson more than Digne after losing Ben Chilwell to a cruciate ligament injury in November.
Likewise, Emerson is said to be willing to return to Stamford Bridge where he believes he will have another chance to impress the Blues boss.
To break the deal, Chelsea will have to pay compensation.
Chelsea transfer update
The Blues will also decide to recruit a new right-back by the start of next week.
They have so far prioritized signing a left-back but it has led them to lose transfer target Kieran Trippier who joined Newcastle from Atletico Madrid last week.
They can bring back Dujon Sterling, on loan at Blackpool until January 14, but are currently testing the market to see what else is possible.
Additionally, Malang Sarr is temporarily avoiding loan interest after an extended run in the first team, while Lewis Baker received an offer from a Ligue 1 club but turned it down in favor of staying in English football.
The local star, who made his first appearance for Chelsea in eight years this weekend against Chesterfield in the FA Cup, is happy to wait until his contract expires in west London.
Having played in the Netherlands, Turkey and Germany on loan, he is hoping for a long-term contract in the England fixture next season at a upwardly mobile championship club.
Jake Clarke-Salter has extended his loan at Coventry City until the end of the season despite permanent transfer offers from Belgium and the Netherlands.
Baba Rahman is expected to continue on loan at Reading until the end of the season, even after an investigation from an anonymous Premier League club during the winter transfer window.
The Blues could also lose their Under-18 captain Josh Tobin, whose contract expires at the end of the season. He had a few tries away from Cobham before a possible change of club.
Chelsea will wait to do important business next summer, with midfielders Declan Rice and AurÃ©lien Tchouameni on their shortlist, as well as defenders Wesley Fofana and Jules Kounde.
Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta’s deals all expire this summer, which has only added to the importance of signing a center-back in the near future.