Chelsea have made a bid worth £26.8m for Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Leandro Paredes, according to reports.

The Blues are looking to replace Cesc Fabregas after the Spaniard left Chelsea for Monaco last week, opening up a gap as Jorginho’s back-up. Paredes and Cagliari’s Nicolo Barella are the two names most frequently mentioned as on the club’s wishlist.

Will Chelsea sign Paredes? Five key things to know…

  1. With Cesc Fabregas leaving, Chelsea are short a Jorginho understudy with Sarri recently speaking of his need for a new midfielder.
  2. Zenit’s Leandro Paredes is among those linked with the Blues, alongside Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella.
  3. Paredes added to the rumours by retweeting a ‘Welcome to Chelsea‘ video.
  4. And, according to reports, Chelsea have made an opening bid of £26.8m for the midfielder.
  5. Paredes has completed more accurate long balls (114) than any other midfielder in the Russian Premier League this season.

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has previously spoken of his desire for a technical player in his deepest midfield role, with Jorginho the only player capable of filling the spot following Fabregas’ departure.

Paredes has been touted as the favourite to replace the Spanish midfielder, for his similar playing style, and the Evening Standard say Chelsea have made their first official bid for the Argentinian.

It could be good news for Manchester United, who are also linked with Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella, a versatile rising star in Serie A who Andrea Pirlo believes is ‘one of the best players in Italy.’ The Standard do note, however, that Barella is also reportedly of interest to Napoli and Inter Milan.

After Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Newcastle United at the weekend, Sarri was highly critical of Jorginho and spoke of a lack of a replacement for the Italian midfielder – hinting the club know his desire for another option.

“As you have seen Jorginho was in trouble, but I didn’t have a player for that position,” Sarri told reporters after the win.

“I have no idea [when it will get sorted]. The club knows very well my opinion. I need a player there. It depends on the club decision. I cannot do anything more.”

Since joining Chelsea in the summer, Jorginho has been both lauded and criticised for his passing, with some believing the Italian is not creative enough.

Jorginho has completed 1,808 passes so far this season, more than any other player in the Premier League. But he has also created just 14 chances and is yet to record an assist.

Paredes returns to Zenit after winter break

Paredes added to the rumours of a move to west London when he retweeted a ‘Welcome to Chelsea’ video over the weekend, at the same time the Blues were beating Newcastle United with Jorginho underperforming.

But the Argentinian has also returned to Zenit to complete his medicals after Russia’s winter break.

Zenit’s English-speaking Twitter account made Paredes’ appearance obvious, playing on the reported Chelsea links, while posting pictures of the returning players.

The Argentine midfielder was pictured getting his eyes tested and smiling alongside team-mate Emanuel Mammana.

And, naturally, there were Chelsea fans paying close attention to the post, urging the Russian club to part with Paredes.

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