Liverpool have ramped up a spectacular move for a Serie A superstar who is on Jurgen Klopp’s four-man midfield hit-list, while the likes of West Ham and Everton are chasing a former Man Utd defender – both in Saturday’s Transfer Gossip.
LIVERPOOL STEP UP INTER MILAN PURSUIT
The Reds have ramped up a move to sign Inter Milan’s £71m-rated Nicolo Barella and a report out of Italy has divulged who else is on Klopp’s wish list and how many more might be signed.
The biggest issue from a squad perspective at Anfield right now is unquestionably the midfield.
The Mirror recently claimed no fewer than eight first-teamers could be moved on in the summer. Unsurprisingly, five of the eight named were midfielders and included one extremely high profile player Klopp seemingly knows is finished.
Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham is Liverpool’s primary midfield target. However, with the likes of Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner all off contract at season’s end, multiple additions will be required.
On that front, Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport report Inter Milan’s Nicolo Barella is being sized up by Anfield chiefs.
The 26-year-old can do a little bit of everything in the engine room. What’s more, everything he does do is always at a high level.
Barella is an all-action performer and has bagged six goals and seven assists across 30 appearances this season. Even more appealing to Klopp will be Barella’s sky high stamina and willingness to press.
Barella is a player known to have caught Klopp’s eye in the past. Indeed, on the eve of Liverpool’s Champions League Round of 16 tie with Inter last season, Klopp spoke highly of the Italy international.
“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.”
Klopp admiration being acted upon
Now, Gazzetta reveal Barella is one of four midfielders Liverpool have heavily scouted of late. The others are Jude Bellingham, of course, along with Matheus Nunes of Wolves and Brighton’s Moises Caicedo.
Gazzetta’s report focuses on Barella who it’s claimed is valued around the €80m (approx. £71m) mark.
Their headline reads: ‘Watch out Inter’ in relation to Liverpool’s interest. They also ominously write Barella is enjoying his time in Milan, ‘but if an offer comes along…’
Inter are cash-strapped at present and are known to be in need of around €60m to help balance the books. The easiest way to raise the cash is via player sales.
Gazzetta report Liverpool will sign ‘two or three’ new midfielders in the summer. 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.
Barella is under contract at the San Siro until 2026. Furthermore, it’s suggested he may even be promoted to vice-captain behind Lautaro Martinez next year if senior stars such as Samir Handanovic, Marcelo Brozovic and Milan Skriniar depart.
As such, Liverpool won’t be able to prise Barella out of Italy on the cheap. Though given their dire need for top class midfield recruits, owners FSG cannot afford to do anything on the cheap next summer anyway.
FORMER MAN UTD STAR DUE PREM RETURN?
No fewer than four Premier League sides including Everton and West Ham have been linked with bringing an ex-Man Utd centre-half back to England, per a report.
Chris Smalling has enjoyed a career renaissance since being ousted at Old Trafford.
The centre-back, now 33, initially joined Roma on loan in 2019 before making the move permanent a year later. Smalling has been a revelation in Italy and is one of manager Jose Mourinho’s most trusted generals.
However, despite his cult status with the Roma fanbase and imperious performances on the pitch, his future in the Italian capital is far from certain.
His contract is due to expire at season’s end. There is a performance option that, per Sempre Milan, can be activated by the player in the event he plays at least 50 percent of all available Roma matches this season.
Smalling will breeze past that figure, though is understood to want a longer-term commitment from Roma.
The Daily Mail previously reported Smalling was offered a two-year deal in late-2022. However, given his advancing age, Roma are were unwilling to include a pay increase.
Whether a new deal will be thrashed out remains to be seen. But in the event Smalling decides enough is enough, there’ll be no shortage of Premier League suitors willing to bring him back to England.
90min report West Ham, Everton, Fulham and Leicester are all in the mix.
NEWCASTLE PLOTTING WOLVES RAID
Finally, Eddie Howe’s Magpies are sizing up a summer swoop for Wolves centre-back, Max Kilman.
The 25-year-old has been an ever-present at Molineux this term, featuring in every single minute of their league campaign.
Newcastle already boast the league’s meanest defence with their mark of 15 goals conceded a whopping eight fewer than Arsenal and Chelsea (joint-second with 23 goals conceded).
However, with a European campaign on the horizon next term, Howe is seeking more quality at the back and Kilman is the man he’s eyeing up.
That’s according to Football Insider who report a Kilman swoop could coincide with a Jamaal Lascelles exit. The Newcastle stalwart is being linked with a return to former club Nottingham Forest.
FI don’t speculate as to how much Kilman might cost. However, given his age and the fact he’s integral to Wolves, it stands to reason he won’t come cheap.