Chelsea is looking to get younger in the midfield but needs to do some work to push its two target signings over the finish line.

By 90Min
January 15, 2019

Chelsea have hit a setback in their efforts to sign Argentine midfielder Leandro Paredes this month after Zenit St Petersburg reportedly rejected the Premier League side's opening offer, despite the player agreeing to personal terms with the Blues.

It was rumored earlier this month that Chelsea were 'close' to agreeing deals for both Paredes and Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella, but it appears that pushing either proposed transfer over the line is proving more difficult than those reports anticipated.

According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea's opening bid for Paredes went in at £26.8m last week. That is only marginally more than Zenit paid for the 24-year-old themselves when they signed him from Roma in 2017, with the Russian club said to be asking for £36m.

The other potential hurdle for Chelsea is that Paredes, who was part of Argentina's preliminary 35-man squad ahead of last summer's World Cup, apparently wants to return home to boyhood club Boca Juniors after moving to Europe as a teenager in 2014.

Chelsea will have to hope that their willingness to hand Paredes a contract worth £80,000-per-week will be enough to make him put his homecoming on hold. The chance of Boca being able to afford Zenit's big asking price, more than three times their record transfer fee, is also slim.

The Mirror meanwhile are more optimistic on Chelsea's prospects of completing a deal for Paredes and have claimed that the the prospective Cesc Fabregas replacement has already agreed personal terms with the Blues.

Paredes sparked transfer speculation last week when he retweeted a fan-made 'welcome to Chelsea' video.

But whether it be Paredes or someone else, Chelsea are in desperate need of a new midfielder this month after allowing Fabregas to leave the club and join Monaco last week.

The latest on £45m-rated target Barella is that Cagliari do not expect he will leave this month.

"[Barella] has the right thoughts and his head is in Cagliari, I do not have different signals and I do not have any problem," coach Rolando Maran said over the weekend.

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