After letting Cesc Fabregas leave for AS Monaco, it was well-documented that Maurizio Sarri wanted to bring in another man for the middle of park.
“The club knows very well my opinion. I need a player there,” the Italian told Sky Sports back in January.
And one player who Sarri had identified was Cagliari’s Nicolo Barella, a player the club came close to signing, according to Chelsea assistant coach Gianfranco Zola.
“I gave Barella his debut in Parma in the Coppa Italia. At the age of 17, he had the means and personality of a great footballer but to play in a big team he must grow,” Zola told Gazzetta dello Sport (via Calciomercato).
“He was very close [to joining Chelsea]. He is strong and was always liked by Sarri but things didn’t work out.”
Technically, Barella looks like a very good footballer and one capable of playing in Sarri’s system.
But having been identified as a mere back-up option for the undroppable Jorginho, signing the 22-year-old for the £45m (Goal) would have been a waste of money.
Had Sarri had plans to play him further forward on the left-hand side of that midfield three, things might have been a different.
But with a player of Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s calibre at disposal, there was never really going to be a need for the west London club to make significant investment in the above area.
The Blues do need cover for Jorginho, but not in the form of a £45m-rated player.
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