Chelsea have increased their offer for Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Leandro Paredes to £31.2m.
Chelsea have increased their offer for Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Leandro Paredes to £31.2m, having seen their first bid rejected by the Russian league leaders.
Maurizio Sarri has identified Paredes as his No. 1 target to replace Cesc Fabregas following his move to Monaco, but Zenit said no to Chelsea's original offer of £26.8m despite Paredes reportedly agreeing personal terms with the Blues.
However, this still might not be enough, as Zenit value Paredes at £36m. They want to make a significant profit on the €23m they spent to sign the 24-year-old from Roma in 2017.
Fabregas only started one Premier League match under Sarri prior to his departure, with Ross Barkley or Ruben Loftus-Cheek usually preferred alongside N'Golo Kante in midfield.
However, Sarri still has question marks over both of his English midfielders and believes that Paredes could more closely replicate the range of passing and ability to dictate play which Fabregas possessed at his peak.
Chelsea decided to step up their pursuit of Paredes after deciding that it would be too difficult to sign Nicolo Barella from Cagliari. The highly-rated Italian will not be allowed to leave his boyhood club this month, sporting director Mario Passetti confirmed this week.
Chelsea could face competition for Paredes from Boca Juniors, where he began his career before joining Chievo in 2014.