​Chelsea are keen to beat the likes of Atletico Madrid in the race for Cagliari's 21-year-old midfielder Nicolo Barella, and hope a bid of around £40m will be enough to secure a deal.


Barella has been a key player for Cagliari this season and has even captained the side on three occasions. He has made 16 appearances since the start of the current campaign and has even earned four caps for Italy since making his debut in October.

Italy  v USA  -International Friendly

News of ​Chelsea's interest in Barella comes from Italian outlet ​SardegnaSport, who state that Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is hoping to secure a January move for the midfielder as he seeks to close the gap on ​Liverpool and ​Manchester City at the top of the ​Premier League.


Barella is widely regarded as one of Italy's most promising players and is said to have attracted interest from many European giants. Both ​Inter and ​AC Milan are believed to have expressed an interest in Barella, whilst ​Atletico Madrid failed in an attempt to sign the midfielder during the summer.


SardegnaSport claim that Cagliari will now give Barella the chance to decide on his future. The club are said to be aware that he may wish to test himself in the Premier League and they will not stand in his way if the 21-year-old chooses to leave the club.


Barella is a versatile midfielder who is capable of operating in any area in midfield. He boasts an impressive blend of technique and power, allowing him to win back possession and kickstart attacks. He has drawn comparisons to Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who used similar qualities to establish himself as one of the world's finest central midfielders.


Chelsea are also hoping that assistant manager Gianfranco Zola's connection with Cagliari will help convince Barella to move to Stamford Bridge. 

Burnley FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League

Zola, who was born in Sardinia, returned to the region in 2003 to sign for Cagliari after leaving Chelsea, and spent two years at the club before announcing his retirement.


He then went on to manage the club in 2014, but lasted just three months as Cagliari found themselves in a relegation battle. However, he is regarded as an iconic player at the Sardegna Arena, and Chelsea are believed to be hoping that he will be able to influence negotiations for Barella.