Chelsea have reportedly taken the first step towards signing Italian midfielder Nicolo Barella in the ongoing transfer window, by launching a £45 million bid.

As per a report from Italian outlet Corriere Dello Sport, Chelsea have made a £45 million offer to Serie A side Cagliari as they look to secure the signing of midfield sensation Nicolo Barella.

The Blues are in the market for a new central midfielder in the ongoing transfer window, as Cesc Fabregas nears an exit from Stamford Bridge.

The Spaniard bid an emotional farewell to the fans during Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup, as he inches closer to sealing a move to AS Monaco to join up with former Arsenal teammate Thierry Henry, leaving manager Maurizio Sarri seeking a cover in the middle of the park.

To that end, Chelsea seem to have identified Cagliari’s Barella as the ideal man for the club and are understood to have launched a bid worth £45 million to acquire his signing in January.

The midfielder has been with Cagliari since 2006 and went on to make his first-team debut in a Coppa Italia clash back in January 2015 at the age of 17, under then manager Gianfranco Zola, who now happens to Sarri’s number two at Chelsea.

Since then, Barella has gone on to make 94 first-team appearances for the Serie A outfit, scoring seven goals and setting up two more in the process. The 21-year-old has featured 20 times across all competitions this term, missing just one Serie A game due to suspension and has captained the team on a number of occasions.

Closing in on a move to Chelsea (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

Closing in on a move to Chelsea (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

Barella’s rapid development saw him break into the Italy national team in 2018, as he made his debut for the Azzurri in a friendly against Ukraine last October. Since then, he has featured in three more matches for Roberto Mancini’s side.

Chelsea’s Premier League rivals Manchester United have also been credited with strong interest in Barella, while Serie A heavyweights Napoli and Inter Milan are also hoping to sign the Italy international. However, Zola’s connections with Cagliari is likely to give Chelsea an upper hand in the race for the midfielder’s signing.

Barella signed a new contract with the Italian outfit in January last year, extending his stay at the club till the summer of 2022. However, a chance to move to the Premier League is sure to appeal to the youngster as he looks to continue making rapid strides in his fledgling career.

Chelsea have already spent heavily in the January window, signing Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund in a €64 million deal, only to loan him back to the Bundesliga side for the rest of the season.

They are expected to make some sales in order to balance the books, with teenage sensation Callum Hudson-Odoi reportedly headed for Bayern Munich, while fringe players like Danny Drinkwater and Gary Cahill are also likely to be sold.

Barella has shown immense potential during his time at Cagliari and clearly has what it takes to be a solid addition to this Chelsea side. And if the reports are to go by, it seems only a matter of time, before the Blues complete the transfer.