Chelsea are in talks with Genk over the signing of attacking midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, the Belgian club have confirmed.
The 20-year-old, who came through the ranks at Genk, made his first-team debut in 2009 and won a first full cap for Belgium in August 2010.
He has been on Chelsea’s radar for some time and could be a Stamford Bridge player by the end of the week after Genk director Dirk Degraen flew into London for talks.
If a deal is completed, it is anticipated the midfielder will be loaned back to the Belgian champions for the rest of the season.
“Dirk Degraen is in London and the expectation is that it (the transfer of De Bruyne) will be finished this week,” a Genk spokesman said.
“The assumption is that Kevin de Bruyne will be transferred to Chelsea and then will finish the season (on loan) at Genk.”
De Bruyne, predominantly a left-sided player, joined Genk at 14 and went on to make his full debut three years later. He forced his way in the club’s first team two years ago and helped the Belgian side win the domestic title last term.
De Bruyne made his international debut in 2010 and is seen as one of the brightest young prospects in the country. He has already played twice against Chelsea for Genk in this season’s Champions League group stage.
Should De Bruyne move to Stamford Bridge, he will become the third Belgian player signed by Andre Villas-Boas following the arrivals of Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois.
The Chelsea boss has looked to sign young players to lower the average age of his squad since taking over last summer.
The Portuguese has made just one major signing so far this transfer window - the capture of England centre-half Gary Cahill from Bolton.
The west Londoners, who sit fourth in the Premier League, have recently been strongly linked with Shakhtar Donetsk star Willian. The Ukrainian champions claimed earlier this week that they had rejected a bid from Chelsea.