Ten Hag orders Man Utd to sign coveted £70m midfielder to extinguish Liverpool transfer hopes

Nicolo Barella (FC Internazionale) and Marcelo Brozovic (FC Internazionale) chat during warm up during Inter - FC Internazionale vs Shakhtar Donetsk, UEFA Champions League football match in Milan, Italy, November 24 2021

Manchester United have emerged as the latest contenders for the signature of in-demand Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella, according to a report.

Barella has already been linked with Man Utd’s rivals, Liverpool, who are desperate to strengthen their midfield this summer. But Man Utd have their own ideas of how to strengthen, too, and seem to have shortlisted the Italy international.

According to the latest from Football Insider, Erik ten Hag greatly admires Barella. Indeed, the manager has therefore told Man Utd to establish themselves in the race to sign him.

It is believed that Barella will cost at least £70million, since Inter still have him under contract until 2026. The former Cagliari star is a key player for the Nerazzurri, who have used him 31 times in all competitions so far this season, seeing him return six goals and seven assists.

A big bid from someone like Man Utd might alter what the future holds for the 26-year-old. In addition to the Red Devils and Liverpool, it has also been revealed that he is of interest to Manchester City.

All three clubs might be considering adjustments to their midfields ahead of next season. In Man Utd’s case, they signed Marcel Sabitzer on loan from Bayern Munich in January. They could already be planning for a future beyond his stay, though.

Alternatively, Sabitzer could convert his loan into a permanent stay, but the club could nevertheless continue looking for other reinforcements to complement him, Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Fred and Scott McTominay.

Besides, McTominay might be facing an uncertain future himself after falling down the pecking order since Ten Hag took charge and Casemiro and Eriksen arrived in the summer.

Hence, Man Utd might end up with a gap to fill in their engine room. In that regard, Barella could be the upgrade they might find tempting.

Barella worth investing in

If Man Utd are to buy another midfielder, Barella would be a smart choice. He is about to enter the prime of his career and has already given a good account of himself over multiple seasons in Serie A.

His qualities appear to be transferable to the Premier League. Therefore, it is no surprise that several of England’s biggest clubs are keeping tabs on him.

Barella will have to carefully pick his next destination if he is to leave Inter. He coped well with the step up from playing on Sardinia to at San Siro, but would have to face another adjustment.

Playing for Man Utd or either of their two main rivals could be appealing. It would be an appropriate representation of the level Barella is at in terms of his ability.

Yet having established himself at Inter over 166 appearances – from which he has scored 17 goals and assisted 41 more – he may be patient before heading elsewhere.

It is up to Man Utd, or their rival suitors, then, to put together packages to convince Inter to sell Barella and the player himself to agree to the move.

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