Premier League • England

Second source confirms Liverpool are in for £61.7m midfielder, with new meeting to pave way for classy Klopp coup

Italy international midfielder Nicolo Barella

Claims Liverpool are readying a raid for a classy Italy international have been echoed by a second source who revealed a meeting over a different transfer will pave the way for a Reds move.

A plethora of issues have blighted Liverpool’s campaign thus far, though the biggest is unquestionably the lacklustre midfield.

The likes of James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have all seen better days. Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic are the only two to play to a consistently high level, though the former is injury-prone and the latter is only 18.

Elsewhere, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as well as Milner are all out of contract at season’s end. The lesser-spotted Arthur Melo’s loan will expire and the Reds won’t exercise their option to buy.

All in all, a significant midfield overhaul is required come the summer. Jude Belingham is the primary target, though multiple additions look like they’ll be required.

A high profile name recently linked by a report from Italy was Inter Milan’s Nicolo Barella.

The 26-year-old is Inter’s prized asset in midfield and is a regular for his national side. He’s racked up 42 caps for Italy, scoring eight goals along the way.

The Nerazzuri value their midfield dynamo highly and would be extremely reluctant to part ways. However, the club’s delicate financial position has begun to prompt speculation they may well cash in.

Inter are known to be in need of raising around €60m before June 30 to help balance the books. As such, a high profile sale or two in the first month of the summer window is expected.

Right wing-back Denzel Dumfries is one player who’d help recoup a sizeable chunk of the shortfall. Tottenham-linked Marcelo Brozovic is another who could depart, though now aged 30, he’s valued no higher than €30m.

A player like Barella, on the other hand, would allow Inter to generate all the cash they need and more in one fell swoop. Taking that route would ensure manager Simone Inzaghi can limit the disruption elsewhere within his squad.

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Liverpool step up Barella mission

Gazzetta dello Sport recently reported Liverpool have stepped up their scouting efforts on Barella in 2023.

Barella has been closely observed by Liverpool’s scout for the region, Paul Goldrick. Goldrick is responsible for sizing up talent from Italy, Switzerland, Serbia and Croatia.

However, Barella has also more recently come under the watchful eye of chief scout Barry Hunter. Clearly, he’s a player the Reds are taking a significant interest in.

Now, Corriere dello Sport (as cited by FCInterNews) have added fuel to the fire by detailing a second transfer that could pave the way for Barella to join the Reds.

Firstly, they echo the prior claims regarding Liverpool’s interest in Barella. Secondly, they report a fresh meeting is poised to take place between Inter Milan and the agent of Barcelona star Franck Kessie.

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Kessie move to pave way for Barella exit

The former AC Milan midfielder is yet to truly make an impact in Catalonia following his free agent arrival last summer.

Kessie is being lined up by Inter for the summer of 2023 and the chance to make a quick buck could appeal to the cash-strapped Barca.

Kessie plays in the same position as Barella and is Serie A-proven. The inference in the report is a Kessie swoop would in turn lead to a Barella or Brozovic exit.

Barella is an all-action midfielder and is typified by his versatility and incredible engine. In essence, he’d be a perfect fit for a Jurgen Klopp midfield.

Indeed, the German previously verbalised his admiration for Barella back in 2022 ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League Round of 16 clash with Inter.

“He’s not just any player,” said Klopp. “And it wouldn’t be bad to have him with us…

“He’s a really nice footballer and I like him a lot because he has all the characteristics a midfielder should have: aggression, technique, pace and age.”

Gazzetta’s report claimed Inter value Barella at €80m (approx. £70.5m). However, Corriere cite the slightly lower sum of €70m (approx. £61.7m) as potentially being enough to swing a deal.

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