Scouting Report: Nicolo Barella
Well, we might as well start looking hard at the alternatives to Jude Bellingham then. After the news struck a devastating blow to the fanbase, all the major journalists led with the same angle, that Liverpool are looking at other alternatives due to the finances involved for a summer rebuild. Whilst it is right to say that the club have been foolish and embarrassed themselves with what’s been released, the alternatives that have been named shouldn’t be viewed as disappointing. In fact, one particular player should be viewed as a real coup if the Reds can make it happen.
What’s Been Said?
Barella had always been a name on the radar and linked with a move to Anfield over the last few windows, yet it always seemed an almost token gesture or somewhat fanciful at best. That was until the excellent Neil Jones name-checked the Italian midfielder as one on the list of alternative targets for the summer. Additionally, Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg confirmed that the 26-year-old was still on our shortlist and being discussed with Jurgen Klopp. When respected journalists have been briefed with similar information it’s not something that can simply be ignored or dismissed.
What Does He Bring?
With the ability to play in any of the three central midfield positions, the former Cagliari man is attractive for a number of reasons. Barella is a real box-to-box, all-action player but his greatest attribute is his passing and ability to play through balls and key passes.
Despite his slender build, the Inter Milan midfielder is known for pressing with energy and aggression which would all be attractive attributes to Jurgen Klopp. As well as providing and scoring goals, his experience and impact at the highest level has been shown in Italy’s European Championship success and his strike against Benfica in the Champions League the other night.
Stats and Info
Despite Inter’s struggles both on and off the field this season, the Cagliari native has notched an impressive 7 goals and 8 assists across all competitions in 3082 minutes. Barella has only missed 3 games in the last two seasons for his club which would also make him attractive to the Reds. Compared with other midfielders his stats are exceptional, with focus on his progressive carries (ninety-fifth percentile) and his shot-creating actions (ninety-third percentile). His passes attempted is in line with Liverpool’s other midfielders and he would appear to be the perfect option as the right-sided eight in the current formation.
Price Tag and Realistic
Inter’s financial issues have been well documented and it’s suspected they’d be willing to cash in on their crown jewel at the right price. According to Capology.com, his wages of €178,000 per week should be well within Liverpool’s reach and even the ability to improve them slightly shouldn’t be too much of an issue. The 43-times-capped international wouldn’t be the first Italian who’d struggled with the transition to the Premier League and this would no doubt be in Liverpool’s thinking. At the age of 26, with a contract until 2026 and a price tag of around €75 million, it seems unlikely this would be the club’s first choice without some hard bargaining. If they can make the financials work in their favour, we’d have some player on our hands.