Roman Abramovich could finally land Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas replacement

Chelsea: Tuchel believes returning fans could make difference

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Chelsea could seal a deal for a Nicolo Barella, almost three years after they had a bid accepted for the midfielder. According to reports, Thomas Tuchel has identified the 24 year old Inter Milan star as a way to upgrade his options in the middle of the park.

Since replacing Frank Lampard, the German has used a number of options, including N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Billy Gilmour and Mateo Kovacic.

But with the exception of Kante, there remains question marks about each of those players as Chelsea look to move to the next level.

Jorginho’s future in particular has come under scrutiny after his agent admitted he could be tempted by a return to Serie A.

And though he has since confirmed those claims are baseless, central midfield remains an area Tuchel could upgrade in his first off-season in charge.

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According to Italian news outlet Leggo, Barella is on Chelsea’s radar, with Inter in a financial position that could see them cash-in on one of their stars.

Barella played a key role in the Nerazzurri’s recent Serie A title victory, ending Juventus’ dominance on the domestic game after nine consecutive Scudettos.

Despite that, the club’s owners Suning International know that at least one member of their title-winning squad could depart.

That’s where Chelsea come in, with links to both Barella and former striker Romelu Lukaku.

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The Blues actually had a bid accepted for the Italian international in January 2019, only for the player to turn it down to remain in his native country.

That offer came when Barella was still with Cagliari, with Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola, who was their manager at the time, confirming an agreement was “very close”.

Maurizio Sarri was the man in the Stamford Bridge dugout when that bid was lodged was and he saw his compatriot as an ideal replacement for the recently departed Cesc Fabregas.

“Chelsea had been looking to sign me in January, the negotiations were concrete,” he said, shortly after joining Inter in the summer of 2019.

“At Cagliari I said: “’It is not an easy time for the team, I will stay until the end of the season. Then I will make a decision’.”

It is understood that had he agreed on a move back then, it will have cost Roman Abramovich around £44m.

But after two successful seasons at the San Siro, that fee is believed to be closer to £60m, with Antonio Conte determined to defy owners by keeping his history-making squad in tact.

Along with Barella and Lukaku, Milan Skriniar is the third Inter star linked with a move to west London, who could finally make a move to the Premier League after previous links with Tottenham.

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