Chelsea may be very close to lose the race for the Argentine wonderkid Ezequiel Barco.

According to Portuguese newspaper A Bola today, Benfica have sent an official to South America to negotiate for the midfielder.

Antonio Conte’s side are mentioned as the biggest competition for the 18-year-old, as the Blues have been linked to the player a few times.

CapturarIt’s said that Independiente are demanding US$10m (£7.8m) for Barco, although Benfica are obviously trying to drop this price.

The youngster has been impressing in Argentina and is constantly featuring in Independiente’s first team despite such a young age. Last year, he was included by The Guardian in the list of 60 of the best young talents in world football.

In case Benfica fail to land the player this time, the price should have some significant raise in the summer. That’s because as Barco will play the U-20 World Cup between May and June, there will obviously be scouts from several sides with an eye on him during the tournament, which could create a bigger competition.