Manchester United have moved ahead of Chelsea in the race to sign a young Italian midfielder this month, if the latest reports are to be believed.
Sport Witness claimed that United have made a £30million bid for Barella, but Serie A side Cagliari are holding out for a fee of around £45m.
Reports on Monday claimed that United, under the approval of caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, have been in contact with the Serie A outfit to table a first and final bid.
The report claims United contacted the Serie A side late on Friday to table the bid, with the instruction they won’t be raising it, but will be happy to leave it with them over the course of the January window.
However, il Corriere dello Sport claims Cagliari have responded to United’s bid by informing them they have no intention of selling their star for anything less than €40m – and in fact hope to fetch nearer the €50m mark – with the Premier League giants’ offer flatly rejected.
Barella has recently become a regular in the Italy national side and has been linked with moves to Inter and Juventus, while there the young midfielder – described as the ‘Sardinian Steven Gerrard’ – has also been frequently linked with Liverpool.
However, some recent developments in the transfer market may have cleared the path for United to land Barella, with Chelsea having turned their attention to another midfielder.
Leandro Paredes has emerged as the Blues’ No 1 target to fill in for experienced Spanish midfielder Fabregas, who last week completed a £10m switch to France with Monaco.
Zenit paid £24m plus add-ons to Roma for Paredes in 2017, but it’s reported the 24-year-old has had his head turned by Chelsea’s interest and is keen to make the move.
That could unlock the door for United to swoop in and steal Barella, with Cagliari unlikely to reject a huge offer if it is presented.
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