Javier Zanetti, the Inter Milan captain, could be offered the chance to finish his playing career and move into coaching by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.
Sources in Italy claim Mourinho is willing to offer Zanetti, who turns 41 in August, a one-year playing contract for next season with the promise of a coaching position from 2015.
Zanetti’s contract expires at the end of the season and it is thought the versatile Argentine, who can play in defence or midfield, would prefer to stay in Italy. He is expected to meet the club’s president Erick Thohir about his future.
Mourinho is believed to be waiting in the wings if Zanetti cannot agree a new deal with Inter.
Speaking about the player nicknamed ’El Tractor’, the Portuguese said: “To me Zanetti represents the joy of living, the joy of making football your job every morning. He is the smile, the life force, the passion for training, the good cheer for everyone who works with him.”