The Blues, already up against it with Inter Milan and Napoli both chasing the 21-year-old midfielder’s signature, were left reeling from United’s £30m ‘take it or leave it’ offer for Barella.
Chelsea, though, are willing to top the Red Devils offer by bidding £45m for Italian football’s latest prodigious talent. With Callum Hudson-Odoi, 18, a target for Bayern Munich, the West London club is determined to ensure the squad remains undiminished with the addition of Barella.
However, United moved swiftly to register their interest and engage the Serie A club in talks over the future of the four-times capped Azzurri international. Despite this early move by the Mancunians, Chelsea are still viewed as favourites for this race according to the Italian media.
Having landed Christian Pulisic in a £58m deal from Borussia Dortmund, the Blues are the only of the Premier League’s top four clubs to act so far this transfer window. There is a verve and momentum about the club at present which few of their rivals are matching.
Manchester United’s interest is exactly what Calgiari wanted; let the auction begin!