Chelsea have made an initial approach to Juventus for Gonzalo Higuain as Maurizio Sarri steps up his search for a new striker.
The Argentina international is on loan at AC Milan from Juventus this season but has been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in this month’s transfer window.
Sarri is in the market for a forward in January and discussions are now underway between Chelsea and Juventus, according to The Mirror.
Higuain is keen to join Chelsea as well and his brother was in London this week to negotiate potential figures.
Chelsea want to reduce the age of their squad but Sarri is a huge fan of Higuain’s, having enjoyed a successful working relationship with the striker during their time together at Napoli.
The club are also pushing to secure a deal for Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Leandro Paredes and have identified Cagliari’s Nicolo Barella as an alternative.
Chelsea are restricted in terms of how they can bring No 1 target Higuain to Stamford Bridge. Their only option is to take over the existing deal to sign him for the remainder of the season which would require them to pay a loan fee on top.
Juventus are also keen to include an obligatory clause which would see Higuain move to Chelsea on a permanent basis for £36million at the end of his loan spell – the same option that was included in Milan’s deal.
The Premier League club are however wary of paying such a fee for a 31-year-old with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia currently weighing-up whether or not it would be a smart move.
AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso revealed that Higuain wants to leave the club in this transfer window.
Gattuso’s team beat Sampdoria 2-0 in extra time to reach the Coppa Italia quarter-finals on Saturday, and afterwards the coach admitted he faced a fight to keep the 31-year-old Higuain at the club.
‘We have a very open relationship, we say things to each other’s faces,’ Gattuso told Milan TV. ‘There is great honesty. When a player makes certain choices, it becomes difficult to convince him otherwise. One can try.
‘At the moment, he is a Milan player and we’re holding on tight. I don’t know what will happen. We are honest with each other and I want him to maintain the same attitude, which has never been lacking.’
Higuain, who has scored eight goals in all competitions for Milan this season, has been named in the squad that will travel to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to face Juventus in the Italian Supercup on Wednesday.