Chelsea brought in Gonzalo Higuain during the January transfer window as the striker moved to Stamford Bridge on a six-month loan spell.
But apart from the Argentine, Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella was also close to joining the Blues at the start of 2019.
Speaking in an interview, Chelsea coach Gianfranco Zola has claimed that the Blues were close to signing the central midfielder but eventually, the deal fell through.
Zola said: “Very. He’s good and Sarri has always liked him, but things fell through.”
At the start of the new year, everyone believed that Chelsea were the frontrunners to signing the midfielder and that Nicolo Barella would be arriving in London during the January transfer window.
But it looks like Chelsea’s bid for the 22-year-old fell through because their bid fell short of Cagliari’s demands.
This was certainly a huge blow for the Stamford Bridge outfit more so since they have currently been slapped with a transfer ban for two transfer windows meaning they won’t be able to make a move for Nicolo Barella at the end of the season.
And this is good news for Arsenal since Unai Emery has been keeping tabs on the midfielder for some time now and reports claim that the Spaniard is planning to bring in Nicolo Barella as a long-term replacement to the departing Aaron Ramsey.
Chelsea though still have an appeal pending in regards to the transfer ban and there is a slight chance of the punishment being postponed.
If that happens then the Blues will once again be back on the driver’s seat especially since Cagliari are demanding €50 million as transfer fee for Nicolo Barella and this is the same amount of transfer budget that Emery will reportedly get to spend during the summer.
In case, Chelsea’s transfer ban is upheld then surely Arsenal will get a free shot at signing Nicolo Barella but with Cagliari demanding such a steep transfer fee for the 22-year-old, it remains to be seen whether the Gunners boss will go after him or will he try and find a cheaper alternative.