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Report: Arsenal step up interest in Cagliari ace Nicolo Barella

Report: Arsenal step up interest in Barella
© Reuters
Arsenal reportedly had scouts present for Cagliari's Serie A clash with Inter Milan on Friday to watch £44m-rated midfielder Nicolo Barella up close.

Arsenal have reportedly stepped up their interest in Nicolo Barella after sending scouts to watch the Cagliari midfielder in action.

The 22-year-old has long been touted as a target for Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea, seen as an ideal replacement for Cesc Fabregas following his mid-season switch to Monaco.

Chelsea are rumoured to have had a £44m bid knocked back for Barella in January, and Arsenal are believed to have now stolen a march on their city rivals.

La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that the Gunners watched the Italy international up close in Cagliari's 2-1 win over Inter Milan on Friday evening.

Barella missed a late penalty in that surprise win for his side, leaving him on one goal and two assists for the campaign.

Cagliari supposedly want £44m for their academy product, which would eat up Unai Emery's entire summer budget.

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Nicolo Barella in action for Cagliari in November 2017
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Barella 'rejected £44m switch to Chelsea'
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