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15th Jan 2019

Chelsea agree terms with Zenit St Petersburg Leandro Paredes as they search for Cesc Fàbregas replacement

Chelsea have agreed terms with Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Leandro Paredes as they look to replace Cesc Fàbregas, who has joined Monaco

Reuben Pinder

Not like they already have seven central midfielders

Chelsea have agreed personal terms with Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Leandro Paredes, according to the Mirror, having reportedly increased their offer to £27m for the player.

Zenit are reluctant to let their star player go, and Paredes could go on strike to force the move.

The Argentina international would come in to replace Cesc Fàbregas as a deputy to Jorginho in the holding midfield role. Fàbregas recently signed for AS Monaco, where he reunited with his former Arsenal teammate Theirry Henry, who has been tasked with keeping them up in his first managerial job.

Maurizio Sarri had wanted Chelsea to sign Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella, but the Italian is not keen on moving clubs mid-season.

Paredes fits Sarri’s tactical system at Chelsea perfectly, as a press-resistant holding midfielder whose best asset is his forward passing from deep and composure on the ball.

He was recently the subject of rumours that he had intentionally got himself sent off in a Russian league game in order to get himself suspended for the weekend of the farcical Superclásico in Argentina between Boca Juniors and River Plate in the Copa Libertadores final.

Accusations were denied by player and club, but he was present at the first leg of the final.

Paredes scored 15 goals and set up 10 more in 61 appearances for Zenit, whom he joined in 2017 from Roma for an initial £21m.

Very highly rated and still young at just 24, a move to Chelsea could see Paredes fulfil his potential in mainland Europe – but first he must find a way of displacing Jorginho in the team. Good luck.