Chelsea are ready to make a move for Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder Leandro Paredes, it is claimed by Sky Sports Italia.
The Blues are keen to sign a creative midfielder this January in order to replace soon-to-depart Cesc Fabregas and are set to decide between two options in Nicolo Barella and Paredes, with the latter being the likelier option, Football Italia understands.
Leandro Paredes – ideal replacement for Cesc Fabregas?
After leaving AS Roma in the summer of 2017 and thereby, joining Zenit, Paredes has become an ever-present figure for the Russian giants, featuring in 28 matches during his debut campaign with the club, during which he was involved in 12 goals.
And the Argentine has adapted well, it seems, continuing his excellence this season, having been involved in five goals in 15 matches.
Paredes is is a defensive midfielder, whose technical supremacy in the middle, allows him to recycle possession and spread the play.
Only four players have completed more passes than Paredes in the Russian Premier League this season and only one of them — Aleksandr Martynovich with 89% — has attained a better passing accuracy than the Argentinian (88%).
However, Paredes’ strengths are not only limited to short passes as the 24-year-old has completed 114 accurate long passes this season – a tally only bettered by two outfield players in the league so far.
Indeed, the former Roma starlet is a pass-machine, who, much like Jorginho, can run the show in midfield using his composure on the ball while the fact that he has delivered 32 key passes, the fourth highest in the league this season, is indicative of his creative prowess.
Defensively, Paredes has averaged nearly two tackles per game, which is not bad at all while his tally of 1.6 interceptions per game is rather unsurprising given his impressive positional awareness.
However, Paredes definitely needs to get rid of his occasional loss in concentration, which often results in rash challenges.
But in essence, the Argentine midfielder seems like an excellent replacement for Fabregas, whose decline has been rather evident in the past couple of years.
In addition, the Blues also lack any reliable back-up for Jorginho and Paredes, in that regard, could be a viable candidate as he can be the understudy for the Italian international as well as giving Sarri an additional option at his disposal in the midfield department.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored