Paris Saint-Germain are on the verge of agreeing a fee of nearly €50 million with Zenit Saint Petersburg for Leandro Paredes, sources close to the French champions and the transfer have told ESPN FC.
Although Chelsea were keen on the 24-year-old Argentina international, PSG persevered after an opening offer was rejected at the start of January and are confident that an agreement with the Russian club has been more or less established and will be sealed on Friday after small details are cleared up.
One of the sources admitted that PSG have grown desperate in their search for midfield reinforcements after Marco Verratti sprained his ankle -- that after Adrien Rabiot indicated his intention to leave as a free agent and talks over the early termination of Lassana Diarra's contract got underway. It was the Italy international's injury that really forced the Ligue 1 giants' hand, distracting them from summer target Frenkie de Jong at a crucial moment as Barcelona pounced, which has only increased the pressure on sporting director Antero Henrique.
With defender Marquinhos regularly being used as a makeshift No. 6, Verratti is the only natural central midfielder as Rabiot remains unavailable to coach Thomas Tuchel.
Another source confirmed that PSG pushed forward with talks for Paredes when the player encouraged their initial interest after his representatives met with PSG's before his arrival in Doha, Qatar, for warm weather training with Zenit. Both sources confirm that a contract of at least four years in length awaits the former Roma and Boca Juniors man at Parc des Princes, once a final agreement is reached, before an obligatory medical.
Paredes is currently with Zenit in Qatar, while his family are already in Paris, and the PSG source said that the club wants to announce the deal as quickly as possible as they continue to look at ways to bring in another midfielder to boost Tuchel's options.
Napoli's Allan, who was so impressive against PSG in this season's Champions League group stage is the other man the French capital outfit are pushing hard for, but Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis wants big money for the Brazilian -- even if he is open to a sale. PSG understand that the player wants to join, said the source, but need to drive the Italians' demands down as much as possible, so talks are ongoing.
Bayern Munich's Renato Sanches has emerged as a possible late alternative as Les Parisiens try to strengthen their squad with two quality, but affordable, options rather than quantity late in the January window.
There is a possibility that PSG ultimately only go for one of Paredes or Allan, but the source close to the club confirmed that with time of the essence, the club are pushing ahead with at the same time as if they intend to go through with the pair regardless of UEFA financial fair play (FFP) uncertainty.