Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has asked the club to sign Barcelona midfielder Sergi Roberto, according to Don Balon.
The Spanish publication reports that the Italian sees the 25 year old as the perfect long term successor to Cesc Fabregas in the middle of the park, and he has encouraged the Blues board to make a move for the Spaniard.
Roberto did have an offer from Chelsea last summer before opting to stay at the Camp Nou after talks with the Catalan club. His contract however expires in 2019, and reports in recent days have indicated that negotiations over a new deal are fraught with difficulty, with the two sides “far away” from an agreement.
The Spanish international has a €40million (£35.3m) release clause in his contract, and Don Balon reports that Barca star Lionel Messi is increasingly concerned that Roberto could leave the club.
The Argentine is said to be convinced that the player should stay, but concerns over the midfielder’s future remain, with contract talks reportedly ongoing but making little progress.