GARY Cahill inched closer to a move to Chelsea after Owen Coyle admitted he was bracing himself for a flurry of January bids for the centre-back.
Andre Villas-Boas is desperately seeking a new defender to shore up the Blues’ leaking back-line and sees the England international as an ideal candidate for the role.
Cahill forged a promising partnership with Blues skipper John Terry while on duty with the national side and Villas-Boas is keen to re-unite the pair at Stamford Bridge.
The 25-year-old is in the final year of has contract at the Reebok and Bolton and was the subject of a £13million bid by Chelsea’s London rivals Tottenham in the summer.
And Trotters boss Coyle is expecting interest reignite this winter, with clubs aware that Bolton are under pressure to sell or face losing their star-man for nothing.
“Gary Cahill is an outstanding player,” said Coyle. “As I have said, whatever comes in January, we will deal with it then.
"Between now and then, Gary has to be focused and doing his job to the best of his abilities, as he always has done, both for himself and his international aspirations, and the team.
"Gary is a top player. If there are people who might be interested come January, so be it. But Gary has to be performing for Bolton. If he is, the rest will take care of itself in January."
The Blues are expected to make a bid in the region of £7million for Cahill, however this could rise if Tottenham re-enter the race for his signature.
If Cahill does arrive at the Bridge, the move is likely to signal the end of Alex’s stay in London.
Juventus have been strongly linked with a move for the Brazilian who has fallen out of favour since the arrival of Villas-Boas.