Cesc Fabregas is on his way out of Chelsea but not before the club has found a replacement for the Spanish playmaker – and they may they have found one in Nicolo Barella.
The Blues, though, could have to pay Cagliari as much as £45million to prise the 21-year-old away from the Italian club.
Fabregas said his goodbyes to the fans when he was substituted in Chelsea’s FA Cup match at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The move is on hold, though, as until the Blues have secured their replacement. Barella or Zenit St Petersberg midfielder Leandro Paredes are believed to be who Chelsea want to bring in.
Here is what you need to know about Barella.
Who does he play for?
Barella came through the Cagliari youth system and made his first team debut in 2015 at the age of 18.
He had a brief loan spell at Serie B side Como in 2016 and after returning cemented his place in the Cagliari side.
What is his style of play?
He plays with a lot of confidence and composure despite his young age.
Barella is a box-to-box midfielder who not only can run at defences and play key passes but can win you back possession to start counter-attacks.
How has he performed in Serie A?
His performances have attracted praise from Italian legends Andrea Pirlo and Alessandro del Piero.
Cagliari are mid-table in the league but Barella one of the best players and featured in 18 of their 19 matches in Serie A.
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What has he said about the Premier League?
“If I had to choose between Serie A and the Premier League, I’d go for England, because I like the way they approach the game. Plus everyone there is just as irritable and prone to fouls as me!
“My dream is to get a nice house with a garden and a pool. And to meet LeBron James.”
Barella has made such an impression he’s already made four appearances for the senior Italy side having played for the Azzurri at every youth level.
In a profile of Barella, Gazzetta dello Sport likened the starlet to Steven Gerrard.
They commend the youngster for his ability to adapt to a variety of midfield role, while they were impressed by his technical attributes, strong personality and champion spirit.