Chelsea told £45m target Barella is going nowhere as Cagliari stand firm

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Blues boss Maurizio Sarri is desperate to add to his attacking options but an Italy international currently starring in Serie A may be out of reach

Chelsea target Nicolo Barella will not be leaving Cagliari this January, according to the Italian club’s sporting director.

Goal revealed recently that the Italy international is a £45 million ($58m) target for Blues boss Maurizio Sarri, who is desperate to reinforce his midfield options.

Chelsea are also hot on the heels of Zenit St. Petersburg's Argentina midfielder Leonardo Paredes - as confirmed by Goal - as they look to fill the gap left by Cesc Fabregas.

But Cagliari director Mario Passetti has poured cold water on the prospect of Sarri landing Barella this season.

“We continue to talk about him, we do interviews and issue statements, but evidently we’re not being clear enough,” Passetti told Rai Sport before his side’s Coppa Italia tie with Atalanta.

“We reiterate that he’ll stay for at least the next six months.

“After that, we’ll see what happens in the summer. We have big ambitions and Nicolo gives 1000 per cent in every training session and he’s happy to be at Cagliari.

“Selling him isn’t one of our objectives.”

Barella’s stock has risen rapidly since he became a mainstay in the Cagliari team.

He made his debut in 2014 but it was the 2015-16 season when the man from Sardinia made his breakthrough as a cornerstone of I Rossoblu.

He became a full Italy international in October 2018 when Roberto Mancini called him up for a friendly against Ukraine in Genoa.

Cagliari’s unyielding position will mean Sarri is forced to look for a plan B as he seeks a replacement for Fabregas who departed this month for Monaco.

Zenit have quoted Chelsea €40m (£36m/$46m) if they want to prize Paredes away from the Russians. The Blues' own valuation is believed to be some way below that figure at €30m (£27m/$34m).

Meanwhile, Sarri has reportedly intensified his pursuit this week of Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, currently on loan at AC Milan.

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Former Milan forward Antonio Cassano has suggested that Higuain is eager to be reunited at Stamford Bridge with his former Napoli coach Sarri as he is being starved of service at San Siro.

The Argentinean is believed to be Sarri’s priority buy ahead of Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson.

In December, Chelsea number two Gianfranco Zola confirmed that the England international was a player that the club were interested in, but Cherries boss Eddie Howe is understandably reluctant to sell.