They had a £22 million offer for the Tottenham playmaker turned down earlier this month, but had been hopeful he would move.
Having failed to convince the player, who is under contract, to leave his club, they have now made a huge offer for Palermo’s Argentine star.
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Since Guus Hiddink arrived at the helm, Chelsea have improved considerably after a tricky start to the campaign.
Newcastle United are staring down the barrel of relegation to the Championship for the second time in the past eight years.