Chelsea leading the race to sign 23-year-old Brazilian centre-forward

London club transfer target Gabriel Barbosa – often known just by the nickname ‘Gabigol’ will fly to Italy this week to hold crunch talks with Inter Milan over his future, reports claim.

Brazil international has been in red hot form for Flamengo, scoring 25 goals and providing eight assists in 29 league games, while scoring seven times in six appearances to help his side win a second Copa Libertadores title.

Gabriel’s struggled to find his best form in Europe since signing for Nerazzurri from Santos, but his resurgence in Brazil has seen him linked with Premier League clubs Chelsea and West Ham United, although Flamengo are hoping to sign him permanently.

He will now fly back to Milan to thrash out his exit terms with the Serie A side as he hopes to find a new home this month. His current contract with Inter expires in the summer, with his Flamengo loan finishing at the end of December, but Blues were keen on securing a deal in winter to bring him to London club.

Frank Lampard’s side were said to be considering using Olivier Giroud to sweeten the contract, with the French star keen to move on after struggling for playing time. The Brazilian striker has previously outlined his desire to play in England, saying: ‘I like the Premier League very much. It combines technique, strength and speed.

I always follow the games from Brazil. ‘It is a place I would like to play. It’s one of the best leagues in the world. ‘Every player dreams of being a champion and winning the PL must be indescribable.’