Man Utd scout Italian playmaker, but Liverpool have ‘a relationship’

Nicola Barella TEAMtalk

Liverpool are at the head of the queue to sign Nicola Barella, despite several Premier League clubs scouting the midfielder this week.

The talented Italian was understood to be on the radar of Jurgen Klopp in the summer with both the Daily Mirror and Daily Express claiming the Reds had more than a passing interest in the Italy Under-21 player.

Tuttosport now claim via Calciomercato that the player’s €1.3million move to Cagliari last summer “has meant that a relationship has formed between the Sardinians and Liverpool”.

Just what the Italy paper means by that is unclear, but Barella is player who this week received praise from Andrea Pirlo – with the Italy legend labelling him “one of the best in Italy”.

Liverpool have still not replaced Philippe Coutinho, who left for Barcelona in January, and while Barella is not quite the No.10 to replace the Brazilian, Barella is a deep-lying playmaker with a passing range that would be an asset to Jurgen Klopp.

But other Premier League sides have already watched Barella, and Cagliari’s 0-0 draw with Sampdoria in midweek saw representatives from Manchester United, Chelsea, Everton and West Ham watch him.

Barella, who was called up to the senior Italy squad last year, scored six times last season and has scored once this term, via a terrific free-kick, but he has made no suggestions he wants to leave Sardinia.

“The transfer market? I feel at home with the team of my city,” Barella said earlier this summer. “Together with the president, I decided to prolong my relationship with them, rejecting the offers that came my way.

“I didn’t even take them into consideration. My first choice has always been Cagliari.”

Juventus, Inter and AC Milan and Napoli are all believed to be fans of the €40million-rated Barella, who is under contract until 2020.