Highly rated Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella has been identified by Chelsea as their top transfer target to replace Cesc Fabregas, The Daily Telegraph claims.
The Spaniard is due to play in Chelsea's FA Cup third-round tie with Nottingham Forest this weekend before completing a move to Monaco.
Fabregas' departure will leave Chelsea short of options in central midfield for the second half of the season and Maurizio Sarri has his eyes set on Barella to take over.
The 21-year-old has been heavily linked with a Premier League move since the end of last season but now the Blues are looking to beat their rivals to his signature.
Barella is looked at as one of the best prospects in Serie A and the Cagliari midfielder has even forced his way into Roberto Mancini's first-team plans for the Italian national team this term.
Cagliari also know about interest in Barella from Serie A rivals Inter and Napoli and value the youngster at £45m. Barella has made more tackles than any other player aged 23 and under in Serie A this season.
This article was most recently revised and updated 4 years ago