Maurizio Sarri is facing an uphill battle to sign Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella for Chelsea this month, according to reports.
The 21-year-old is wanted by Sarri as a replacement for Cesc Fabregas, who has already agreed a deal to join Monaco.
Barella has already been contacted by Sarri’s assistant Gianfranco Zola in an attempt to convince the midfielder to make the move to Stamford Bridge.
But Chelsea’s hierarchy are at odds with Sarri as they have concerns regarding the cost of the move with Cagliari demanding a €50 million (£45m) transfer fee.
Sarri’s chances of persuading Barella to join Chelsea are also reduced as the midfielder’s wife is currently pregnant with their second child and would prefer to remain in Italy, according to Gazzetta dello Sport..
That puts Napoli in the driving seat to sign Barella as they have identified the Italy international as a replacement for Allan, who is wanted by Paris Saint-Germain.
Gazzetta dello Sport report that Carlo Ancelotti has approved the move for Barella but the deal hinges on whether PSG will meet Napoli’s €100m (£90.5m) asking price for Allan.
Barella also has reservations over a move to Chelsea because of the amount of playing time he will get, according to the Evening Standard.
Sarri has insisted that Chelsea must sign a replacement if Fabregas is to leave before the end of the January transfer window and Chelsea are continuing negotiations with Zenit over a deal for Leandro Paredes.
The Russian club value the Argentina international at €35m (£31.5m).