Two English Giants Chasing Cagliari Midfielder Nicolo Barella

REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

Chelsea and Manchester United are set to battle for Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella.

The 21-year-old has attracted interest from all across Europe thanks to his impressive displays in the Serie A. Further, he has also managed to earn four international caps for the Italian national team.

Chelsea, who have been long-term admirers of the starlet, could now begin pursuing him seriously, so as to bring him in as a replacement for Cesc Fabregas.

But now, according to Corriere dello Sport, a new interested party has joined this transfer race, in the form of Manchester United.

The Red Devils’ Italian football scout, David Williams, is reported to have extensively scouted Barella, and has been left impressed with that he has seen. In fact, Williams was the one to have discovered Giuseppe Rossi for the club 15 years ago.

The Mancunian giants are said to be willing to shell out £30 million to secure the youngster’s services. However, that may not be enough, as Cagliari are holding out for a fee of £45 million.

Meanwhile, Chelsea remain ahead of United in this race, thanks to their assistant manager Gianfranco Zola, who happens to be a close friend of Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini.

Blues’ chief Marina Granovskaia reportedly values the Italy international at £31.4m at present. But if the Stamford Bridge outfit increases its offer, bringing it closer to Barella’s £45m asking price, this could very well be a done deal.