CHELSEA are believed to be leading the race to sign highly-rated Everton youngster Ross Barkley .
The Blues raided the Toffees’ backroom team last August to appoint Mick Doherty as their new European scout.
Several Premier League clubs are monitoring the teenager and Doherty is thought to have recommended the England Under-21 star to Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas .
Everton boss David Moyes admits Barkley is bound to attract interest and is braced for a barrage of bids for his young midfielder in the January transfer window.
He said: "Every club will want Ross as he is going to be an outstanding player.
“I'm worried it will be difficult for us in the future. If someone comes for Ross I've always said it's expensive to buy off Everton.
Moyes has found it difficult to hold onto his star assets in the past, having lost Wayne Rooney to Manchester United in 2004, but claims his resistance has strengthened since then.
He added: "If you're going to come and try to take our better players we don't sell cheap, that's for sure. I'm sure the bigger clubs will be looking at him, but we've no intention of selling.
"We've got the team to carry Ross. The club is in a much better position [than with Rooney]. Can we carry someone like Ross now? Of course we can. Maybe when we had Wayne I didn't think we could hang on to someone of that talent, at that period."