Everton's Dutch defender John Heitinga has made no secret of his desire to join Roma, but reports suggest he is seen as a back-up choice should Parma refuse to sell Gabriel Paletta.
The Eternal city side are back in the title race having closed the gap to Juventus to six points by beating Hellas Verona 3-1 while the Old Lady could only draw with Lazio.
But Roma are in need of defensive cover after Argentine stopper Nicolas Burdisso left for Serie A side Genoa, citing a desire for first-team football.
Experienced defender Heitinga has been a target for some time and would be able to fill the void left by the departure of Burdisso without commanding a large transfer fee.
The paper states that Sabatini met with Heitinga's agent yesterday and the two agreed personal terms for a move, which Everton are happy to allow.
But Il Messaggero believes that Sabatini wants to hold off closing the deal until he has tried to sign Paletta.
Parma reportedly want £3.3m for co-ownership of the 27-year-old Argentine defender while Roma are only willing to offer just under £1.7m.
Sabatini may not be able to keep Heitinga waiting for long as Turkish side Galatasaray are also said to be interested in him.
image: © Damien Cansse