Chelsea have had a £10m bid for Roberto Ayala rejected – but the Premier League club are preparing a third offer for the Argentinian defender.

Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri is hoping to sign the Valencia central defender when the transfer window opens in January, but they are expected to face stiff competition for his signature from Manchester United who are looking to secure cover in the wake of Rio Ferdinand’s eight month ban.

Chelsea had a £9m offer rejected last week and remain are favourites to sign the 30-year-old.

If Ranieri is successful, it would take the spending of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to over £125m since he took over the Stamford Bridge club in the summer.