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Leandro Paredes joins Nicolò Barella as potential Fàbregas replacements for Chelsea — report

Sarri does not think the current squad is capable of deputizing for the departing pass maestro

Argentina v Mexico - International Friendly Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

Cesc Fàbregas is on the way out, and while his transfer to Monaco is not quite finalized — the two clubs may or may not be haggling over the last details of a £10m fee and a 2- or 3-year contract for Cesc — it’s surely little more than a formality at this point. Players don’t tend to say goodbyes to the fans and their teammates without good reason.

While Fàbregas has not been anything more than just a backup this season, he was one of the more important squad players as the direct replacement for Jorginho, around him Sarri-ball centers. Try as he might, Jorginho can’t (and shouldn’t) play every match, and Cesc was the one player in the squad trusted to do that job as well (the only other one who had tried it briefly was Danny Drinkwater, in the Community Shield, and he’s not been seen since).

Which is why the latest rumor of former Roma and Empoli midfield Leandro Paredes, prime-aged at 24, makes so much more sense than the recent hot days rumors of Nicolò Barella. Not that Barella, just 22, is a bad player, but he’s more in the mould of Kanté rather than Fàbregas (which is also needed, as per previous complaints from Sarri). Paredes plays a Jorginho-esque role for Zenit St. Petersburg these days, and had previously a similar role at Empoli (on loan from Roma) the season after Sarri and Jorginho left for Napoli — Empoli were then coached by Marco Giampaolo, who’s continued to espouse the principles of Sarrismo ever since.

Paredes joined Zenit St. Petersburg two summers ago for €23+4m and his price is likely to hover around double that amount given current market conditions — similar to Barella’s quoted £45m fee. That’s the price of business these days, unfortunately.

Sarri of course skirted any questions about Barella in Monday’s press conference and the Paredes rumors were too fresh to get brought up for similar treatment. But while Sarri does not set transfer policy and does not make signings, it’s clear that he wants at least one more midfielder in the squad this January (he sees Ampadu as the Cahill replacement).

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