Chelsea in advanced position to sign €45m-rated Argentina midfielder

Chelsea have advanced talks with Zenit over a deal for Leandro Paredes with Maurizio Sarri urging the club to sign a new midfielder this month with Cesc Fabregas set to join Monaco.

Cagliari’s Nicolo Barella is on the Blues’ shortlist, and the 21-year-old has been contacted by Gianfranco Zola about a potential switch to Stamford Bridge.

But Sportitalia reports that the club’s hierarchy are unwilling to spend €45 million (£40.6m) on Nicolo Barella as they also need a significant part of their budget to sign a new striker during January.

It’s suggested that the Blues are now progressing talks with Russian club over a move for Leandro Paredes and the strong relationship between the two sides could play a key factor in discussions.

Leandro Paredes, who joined Zenit from Roma in the summer of 2017, is valued at €35m (£31.5m) by the Russian club.

But Premier League giants also face competition from AC Milan for the midfielder after the Serie A side missed out on signing Cesc Fabregas.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are willing to agree a transfer fee with Juventus for Gonzalo Higuain, but London giants’ hierarchy are having second thoughts about spending around €40m (£36m) on Argentina international.