Barcelona and Chelsea will go head-to-head in a bid to sign Portugal international Joao Cancelo

According to The Express, Cancelo has been on Antonio Conte’s shortlist for some time now. Chelsea need a long-term replacement for Branislav Ivanovic, who is nearing the end of his time at Chelsea at the age of 32.

Barcelona are also on the lookout for a replacement for Dani Alves, who joined Juventus in the summer after 8 successful years with the club. Aleix Vidal has failed to impress Luis Enrique and has been completely ignored by the manager, and according to The Express, Barcelona see Joao Cancelo as the perfect replacement for Alves.

Barcelona are said to be preparing an offer to rival the one Chelsea have prepared, and are hoping to push through a transfer in January.

However, it is highly unlikely that Valencia will sell a key member of their squad mid-way through the season, as evidenced by their resistance to selling Shkodran Mustafi to Arsenal this summer.

AVEIRO, PORTUGAL - OCTOBER 07: Joao Cancelo of Portugal runs with the ball during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Portugal and Andorra at Estadio Municipal de Aveiro on October 7, 2016 in Aveiro, Portugal. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Joao Cancelo is expected to be hot property in the transfer market  (Photo courtesy David Ramos/Getty Images)

This makes it more likely that they will have to compete with each other for Cancelo’s signing in the summer, although there might be more interest in the player by that time as it has already been reported that Manchester City and Manchester United are also monitoring the situation.

Cancelo, who joined Valencia two years ago, is a product of the much-lauded Benfica academy. The 22-year old right-back has made 4 appearances for the Portuguese national team, scoring 3 goals already.

His first goal for the national team came during his debut against Gibraltar, when he played the full 90 minutes and scored the third goal in a 5-0 victory.

Cancelo’s current contract runs until  June 2021, so it is unlikely that either club will get him on the cheap should they pursue their interest in the summer.

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