Liverpool are understood to be tracking Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella closely and if they were watching his side’s 2-0 Champions League semi-final victory over arch-rivals AC Milan – they received further clarification that he could be worth the cash this summer. The Italy international and Euro 2020 winner needs no introduction in European circles having quickly established himself as one of the best of his kind in Serie A where he has flourished with Inter since joining from Cagliari.
He has already won over Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who rates the player so highly he virtually celebrated his absence ahead of last season’s Champions League last-16 clash with Inter.
The German said in February 2022: “He’s a really good player, a really good player and I like him a lot. He has all the things you want from a midfield player: he is aggressive, he is technical, he can run for ages and all these kinds of things. That’s a top-class player.”
Now Klopp must decide whether Liverpool have the financial muscle to launch a reputable offer for the 26-year-old, who could be the answer to the Reds’ problems in the middle of the park.
Gianluca Di Marzio has indicated Liverpool were expected to watch Barella in action against AC Milan after recently sending scouts to keep tabs on him during Inter’s 3-1 win over Lazio.
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It is safe to say they will have been impressed with what they saw as his fingerprints were all over this precious first-leg Nerazzurri triumph in which they dominated large spells of possession.
Arguably Barella’s greatest quality is the fact he is press-resistant. He has the composure and guile to evade opponents before keeping possession.
It’s a craft that only few can master, one being Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara. The Spaniard has missed large chunks of the season through injury and the Reds have sorely missed his quality in the engine room where they have lost control of matches.
During Liverpool’s toughest stretches of their unpredictable and chaotic season, they struggled to establish control and on many occasions, it was where the match was won and lost.
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They are now losing upwards of four midfielders this summer at the cost of nothing and Liverpool will now need to replace those departing for pastures new with real quality.
Barella would bring exactly that to the table and the fact he was able to have such an impact on a match of this magnitude is telling of his class.
The Italian was at the top of his game here and although he did occasionally lose the ball, some of his touches and passes were simply a joy to watch.
There was one particular flick in the first half as Inter raced into a two-goal lead that left the San Siro crowd mesmerised.
Liverpool may need more than one midfielder but they also need to ensure they are signing players that elevate their team to the next level.
Barella is the No.8 they are sorely missing and now Jude Bellingham is off the table – this is exactly where Liverpool should be shopping.
He will not come cheap and Inter would be expected to demand upwards of £60million for the playmaker, who continues to thrive at both club and international level.
If Klopp was already a huge fan of the Inter star prior to Wednesday night’s showing, Barella will have done his chances of earning a move to Anfield no harm at all following a commanding midfield display.
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