Chelsea have submitted an opening bid to Zenit Saint Petersburg for midfielder Leandro Paredes, according to reports.
The Blues appear to have decided upon a move for Paredes, the Argentina international, after selling Cesc Fabregas to Monaco last week.
Cagliari ace Nicolo Barella was an alternate target for Chelsea, but he is reportedly unwilling to leave his current club midway through a league campaign so any deal for the 21-year-old will have to wait until the summer.
And it looks as if Chelsea have settled on Paredes as their first-choice target with the Evening Standard claiming they have made an opening bid for the midfielder worth £26.8million.
Chelsea have also prepared a four-year contract for the 24-year-old, with the former Roma player in line to earn £80,000-a-year should he agree to a Stamford Bridge switch.
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Should Paredes join Chelsea, he could be joined in west London by international team-mate Gonzalo Higuain. as the Argentina forward has allegedly handed in a transfer request to Milan to force through a move to Chelsea.
The Blues are expected to sign Higuain on a loan deal from parent club Juventus until the end of the season, before purchasing him outright when the transfer window reopens in the summer.
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