Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini has revealed Chelsea approached them for midfielder Nicolo Barella in the January transfer window.

Maurizio Sarri and his assistant Gianfranco Zola wanted Barella as Cesc Fabregas replacement as the Spaniard was allowed to join Monaco for free in January and Sarri wanted the club to replace him with the Cagliari playmaker.

"Barella was never close to a January exit. We cannot deny that there was concrete interest from Napoli in January. Maurizio Sarri also wanted him at Chelsea. As for Inter, that was just a chat, nothing more. Maybe it’ll take more, seeing as next year it is his beloved Cagliari’s Centenary,’ Giulini told Metro Sports When asked about Barella’s €50 million (£42.7m) valuation, Giulini admitted the midfielder’s price tag will only rise.

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Giulini did not comment if the star will be allowed to leave in the summer offering to just say that no one can predict what the future holds.

"I don’t know what his future holds, but he is a player who can grow a great deal more. ‘We hope he can continue to do that while wearing our jersey. ‘It’s banal to make the comparison, but he does remind me of Radja Nainggolan, even if Nicolo is more technically-gifted than Radja," he added.

Chelsea managed to sign Gonzalo Higuain from Juventus though in the last transfer window.

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