Manchester United have made an offer of £30 million for Chelsea target Nicolo Barella, who is one of the highest rated young players in Serie A,
The 21-year-old has already earned four caps for the Italian national team and is attracting interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Maurizio Sarri had earmarked Cagliari midfielder as a potential replacement for Cesc Fabregas, but Correire dello Sport claims Manchester United have made a rival offer for the playmaker.
Nicolo Barella has been watched extensively by the Red Devils Italian football scout David Williams – who unearthed Giuseppe Rossi for the club 15 years ago – and he is a huge fan.
But while Cagliari are confident they can get as much as £45 million for the youngster, Manchester United made it clear they would not go beyond £30 million for the midfielder.
The Serie A club were underwhelmed and have not taken Premier League giants up on offer, with Chelsea still in the driving seat to sign him.
However, chief Marina Granovskaia is equally reluctant to spend big on the Italy international and only values him at €35m (£31.4m), while the club have begun looking at alternatives.
Maurizio Sarri’s side have a major advantage over their rivals in the race in the form of assistant coach Gianfranco Zola, who is a close friend of Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini.