Chelsea are reportedly one of three clubs who are interested in signing Manchester United striker Robin van Persie in the summer.

Van Persie’s future has been the subject of much speculation recently in the wake of his unhappiness with his team-mates in the aftermath of United’s dismal defeat to Olympiacos in the Champions League last month.

United are supposedly thought to be considering offloading the Dutchman this summer in a bid by David Moyes to rebuild the squad. According to Italian paper Tuttosport, Chelsea have emerged as front-runners for the 30-year old’s signature.

Chelsea, despite leading the Premier League by four points, are thought to be in the market for a striker this summer,  as manager Jose Mourinho has been unhappy with the performances of his strikers – Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba.

Mourinho recently claimed that he ‘had no strikers’ and Van Persie’s proven goal scoring record in the Premier League and cheap availability is likely to make him a good option.

According to the report, Chelsea are going to face stiff competition from Serie A champions Juventus and Ligue 1’s latest moneybags Monaco.

It has emerged that van Persie wouldn’t have joined Manchester United from Arsenal if he had known that  Sir Alex Ferguson was going to retire. Dutch coach Raymond Verheijen, who was part of the Netherlands’ coaching staff that went to the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, is aware of van Persie’s feelings and revealed that the move was a desperate attempt to win silverware.

Verheijen said: “Robin isn’t stupid, he knows exactly how late [in his career] it is.

“For years he was at Arsenal winning nothing, and then he made the move to Man United so at least he could win some things in his career because he was already in his late 20s.

“He had a lot of loyalty to Arsenal and it was difficult for him – it was a painful move. Ideally he would have finished his career at Arsenal winning some trophies.

“He knew that was not going to happen, so he had to make that move. He made a painful, but brilliant move. He had a very successful first year, wins the title and then thinks ‘let’s go for the Champions League now’.

“Then, all of a sudden, Ferguson retires. How do you think he felt?

“If he had known that was going to happen he still would have left Arsenal, because staying there would mean zero trophies.

“He would definitely have moved but would have more than likely gone to Barcelona or Bayern Munich.”

Meanwhile, manager Jose Mourinho is also looking to make another defensive addition to his squad after it emerged that David Luiz is a possible target for Barcelona to replace the departing Carles Puyol.

The defender in question is Real Madrid starlet Raphael Varane. Mourinho was effusive in his praise for the young Frenchman, and said that he regarded the 20-year-old as the best young defender in world football.

“I think he is the best young central defender in the world. Already I think he’s the best.

“A young player must be somebody who plays in the World Cup for the first time.”

Chelsea have already signed another promising young defender Kurt Zouma from Saint-Etienne in January for £12m, having loaned the 19-year-old back to the Ligue 1 side until the end of the season.

However, with John Terry’s contract set to expire in the summer and a new deal yet to be agreed, Mourinho could be preparing a summer bid for Varane, a player he brought to Real Madrid in 2011 in an £8 million, six-year deal.