A brilliant article by Neil Jones yesterday revealed Liverpool’s admiration for Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham. Neil explained how a move for the highly rated youngster could be secured next summer if the overall financial package fits in with the club’s framework.

However, the wage demands could get out of hand due to the sheer number of top clubs interested in the 18 year old (he turns 19 tomorrow). If that were to happen, the Reds would turn their attentions elsewhere.

In Neil’ piece, he suggested Nicolo Barella could be an alternative target should a move for Bellingham prove difficult to get over the line. Jürgen Klopp is said to be a huge fan of the 25 year old Italian international.

Austrian side RB Leipzig’s Luka Sucic was also named as a possible alternative, as was Aston Villa Academy graduate Carney Chukwuemeka. The profile of player the club wants is obvious from the names listed.

It is the Barella link that got most fans buzzing online however, with the Italian an established international. His performances for Inter Milan have seen his stock rise in recent seasons. Let’s take a closer look at his development.

Barella stands at just 5 ft 8 inches tall (same as Naby Keita) but makes up for that lack of height with intelligence on the ball and tenacity off it. He came through the youth ranks at Cagliari before making his debut for the first team at the end of the 2014/15 season.

He spent time on loan in Serie B with Como in the second half of the following season before returning to Cagliari to fight for his spot. In the next three seasons, he took his tally of appearances to over a century for his boyhood club.

His performances in his final season at Cagliari (2018/19) saw him named in the Serie A Team of the Year. That summer, the then 22 year old joined Inter Milan on a year-long loan deal with an obligation to buy with a four-year contract to take effect after the loan period.

Under Antonio Conte’s guidance, Barella elevated his game to an even higher level. In his very first season at the club, the Nerazurri ran perennial champions Juventus close, with the Bianconeri clinching the Scudetto by just a point. Inter also lost the Europa League final to Sevilla.

Barella’s displays in the heart of Conte’s midfield saw him named in the Serie A Team of the Year for a second consecutive season, as well as the Europa League Squad of the Season. The following season saw Inter end their decade long wait for a Scudetto in grand style.

Barella was a absolutely magnificent and was named Midfielder of the Year as he took his place in the Serie A Team of the Year for the third season running. He established himself in the national team setup under Roberto Mancini as well and was a cornerstone of Italy’s incredible Euro 2020 triumph.

This elevated his status even more as he shed the tag of ‘a bright young prospect’. He is fulfilling his potential and is rightly viewed currently as one of the best box to box midfielders in the world. He made yet another step up last season under Simone Inzaghi.

Inter won the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana, but narrowly missed out on the Scudetto to cross-town rivals AC Milan. Barella laid on 12 assists in the Serie A, an impressive tally for a central midfielder.

Alongside teammate Hakan Calhanoglu (also 12 assists), they recorded the most assists provided in the Serie A by an Inter player in a single season since such data was collected back in 2004/05. Such form saw Inter offer him a new four year contract last November.

Whether Inter can be tempted by an offer this window is unknown. Barella won’t come cheap as his new deal runs until 2026. His value according to Transfermarkt is €70million (£60million). By comparison, Bellingham and Declan Rice are valued at €80million.

Barella is a regular for the Azurri, earning 39 caps since his debut in October 2018 and netting 8 goals. He is a dynamic midfielder who typically lines up on the right of a midfield three alongside Brozovic and Calhanoglu for Inter.

He plays the “mezzala” role, which sees him make offensive runs into the opposition box. He is strong creatively and does not shirk his defensive responsibilities, with his energetic style making him a fit for a high pressing team.

At 25 years old, he is young enough to elevate his game further under Jürgen Klopp’s tutelage. A move to Merseyside would surely be too tempting to turn down for the player. Whether that is possible this window is unlikely.

The likes of Milian Skriniar, Alessandro Bastoni and Denzel Dumfries have all been linked with moves away from Inter this summer with Skriniar expected to depart for PSG in a big money move.

They don’t need to sell Barella so would likely play hardball this summer. Next summer might be the perfect time for all parties to do a deal unless the Reds can make Inter an offer they can’t refuse in the next few weeks.

STATS (League and European competition only)

Barella for Cagliari in 2018/19:

• Appearances – 35
• Minutes – 3,108
• Goals – 1
• Assists – 3
• Chances created – 43
• Successful dribbles – 42
• Successful tackles – 65
• Interceptions – 38
• Age – 22

Barella for Inter Milan in 2019/20:

Appearances – 37
• Minutes – 2,727
• Goals – 3
• Assists – 5
• Chances created – 74
• Successful dribbles – 49
• Successful tackles – 33
• Interceptions – 27
• Age – 23

Barella for Inter Milan in 2020/21:

Appearances – 42
• Minutes – 3,424
• Goals – 3
• Assists – 8
• Chances created – 52
• Successful dribbles – 37
• Successful tackles – 42
• Interceptions – 32
• Age – 24

Barella for Inter Milan in 2021/22:

Appearances – 42
• Minutes – 3,406
• Goals – 3
• Assists – 12
• Chances created – 77
• Successful dribbles – 42
• Successful tackles – 48
• Interceptions – 26
• Age – 25

Stats sourced from Fotmob



  1. Not bad for a 2nd choice if Jude Bellingham’s deal doesn’t go through. He could turn out to be the player klopp wanted in Naby Keita, let’s see how things go.

    Liked by 1 person

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