Chelsea have advanced discussions with Zenit over a deal for Leandro Paredes, according to reports in Italy.

Maurizio Sarri has urged the club to sign a new central midfielder this month with Cesc Fabregas set to join Monaco.

Cagliari’s Nicolo Barella is on Chelsea’s shortlist and the 21-year-old has been contacted by Gianfranco Zola about a potential move to Stamford Bridge.

But Sportitalia report that Chelsea’s hierarchy are unwilling to spend €45 million (£40.6m) on Barella as they also need a significant part of their budget to sign a new striker during the January transfer window.

It’s claimed that Chelsea are now progressing talks with Zenit over a move for Paredes and the strong relationship between the two clubs could play a key factor in discussions.