Chelsea have allowed John Terry, Dominic Solanke and Nathaniel Chalobah to all leave this summer.
Meanwhile, other potential first-team players in Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Kurt Zouma and Izzy Brown have been loaned out ahed of the new season.
That leaves Antonio Conte with just one English player in his squad in defender Gary Cahill.
The club are currently able to call on just five homegrown qualified players in Cahill, Victor Moses, Andreas Christensen, Cesc Fabregas and Charly Musonda – three short of the eight-player minimum.
Further signings are expected at Stamford Bridge, with Conte looking to add another striker, centre-midfielder, attacking midfielder and wing-back.
And it appears the Italian boss has identified midfield as a position where he can ensure Chelsea meet their squad requirements.
The Blues are struggling to land Renato Sanches on loan from Bayern Munich and are keen on bringing in England internationals.
Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater, Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Everton’s Ross Barkley are all wanted.
N’Golo Kante and Cesc Fabregas are Conte’s only first-team options currently in central midfield with Tiemoue Bakayoko injured and Nemanja Matic now at Manchester United.
As a result, Chelsea are considering making a bid for Barkley, who wants to quit Everton with his contract now in its final year.
Chelsea are also monitoring Oxlade-Chamberlain’s situation at Arsenal, who is in a similar position to Barkley.
The Gunners ace would offer Conte versatility too in his team, which is appealing to the Blues.
And Drinkwater is also on their wishlist, although Leicester do not want to sell with his current deal not expiring until 2021.