Scott Parker could make a shock return to Chelsea as Andre Villas-Boas searches for a replacement to cover the latest injury troubles of Michael Essien.
Essien is not expected to play again for Chelsea until 2012 after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus which were damaged during pre-season training.
The setback is the latest in a troubled sequence for Essien, who also missed more than six months in 2008 for Chelsea because of cruciate ligament damage, while a knee injury caused him to miss all of Ghana’s run to the quarter finals at last summer’s World Cup and in total required four operations to put right.
Although Chelsea do have other central midfield options in the shape of John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard, Ramires, Yossi Benayoun and youngster Josh McEachran, it is believed that Chelsea would prefer other options.
One of these is Joao Moutinho, who played under Villas-Boas last season at Porto, but Chelsea are unlikely to want to pay the £35m it would take to activate the minimum fee release clause of the 24-year-old.
Parker would be more readily available after his relegation with West Ham last season and may feel that he has a point to prove at Stamford Bridge after finding chances limited in a previous 18-month spell.
The England international only made 15 starts for Chelsea after arriving for £10m from Charlton and was sold to Newcastle in the summer of 2005 for just £6.5m.
Parker has also been linked with Tottenham and Aston Villa in recent weeks and faces a big decision as to where he is likely to get the most first-team opportunities.
Essien’s injury could be a major blow to Chelsea’s title chances, but they remain 5/2 in the Premier League odds to be crowned champions this season.