Maurizio Sarri wants Chelsea to bolster their midfield options with a January swoop for Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella, according to reports.
The 21-year-old is widely recognised as one of Italian football’s most promising prospects and has already been strongly mentioned as a target for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
Barella has also been mentioned as a target for Manchester United, Tottenham, Inter Milan and Juventus as some of Europe’s biggest clubs ponder a move for a man referred to as the ‘Sardianian Steven Gerrard’.
However, with Chelsea ready to grant Cesc Fabregas permission to open talks over a €15million January move to AC Milan, it seems Blues boss Sarri and his assistant Gianfranco Zola have identified Barella as their No 1 target to replace the ageing Spaniard at Stamford Bridge.
According to L’Uniuone Sarda, Sarri is so convinced of Barella’s quality that he has asked the club to sanction a January bid and beat a number of their competitors for the midfielder. The paper claims that Chelsea will launch a €45million (£40.7m) offer in the coming days with a view to completing the deal early in the January transfer window.
Barella has admitted he could be open to leaving Cagliari for the right offer, saying back in October: “If and when I have to leave, it will never be for money, but only for ambition. I do not care about Ferrari or the super penthouse; I do not play football to buy myself a beautiful car.”
One man who has been impressed with the midfielder is former England boss Fabio Capello.
He told Radio Anch’io Sport: “Barella’s the player who can change the tempo in midfield. He gives something more in terms of quality and quantity, which we [Italy] lacked before.
“He reminds me a bit of (Marco) Tardelli on a dynamic level.”
Cagliari are understandably reluctant to part ways with their star, who was at the centre of strong interest from Atletico Madrid in the summer, but a firm approach from Chelsea could yet convince club president Tommaso Giulini to alter his stance on the young star.
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