Liverpool thought they’d strengthened their midfield last summer with Arthur Melo on loan from Juventus and the promotion of Stefan Bajcetic from the youth side, but the former has played just 13 minutes of football due to injury while the latter has started only six league games and has been sidelined since March.
James Milner has recently agreed a deal to join Brighton & Hove Albion this summer while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also expected to leave, so Jurgen Klopp has made bringing in at least one midfielder a priority when the transfer window opens.
And while Liverpool have switched their focus from Jude Bellingham due to financial constraints, Gianluca Di Marzio of Sky Sports says the Reds are looking at Nicolo Barella. The 26-year-old joined Inter Milan from Cagliari in 2020 and has gone on to make 181 appearances in all competitions, scoring 19 goals with 43 assists.
Barella has had a hand in 17 goals from 46 games this season, so he’s a central midfielder Liverpool would love to sign. Di Marzio doesn’t say talks have begun between Liverpool and Inter over a deal but notes that the Reds are the most interested suitor. Barella has three years remaining on his deal at the San Siro and is an important player, so the Nerazurri surely wouldn’t let him go without a fight.
Liverpool have moved on from Bellingham due to his asking price being over £100m, so Calciomercato claiming in April that Barella could be available for €50m (£44m) is ideal. Klopp hasn’t had the luxury of Thiago and Naby Keita staying fit for the entire season, so he’s taking it upon himself to fix the problem.
Barella has missed just two Serie A games this season, amassing 2449 minutes of playing time from a possible 3060, which is more than all but five of Klopp’s outfield players.
With Thiago being 32, Jordan Henderson turning 33 in June and the injury-prone Oxlade-Chamberlain turning 30 in August, it’s time for Liverpool to revamp their midfield so they can keep challenging on all fronts. And if they can sign a player of Barella’s ability for less than half of what Bellingham costs, they’d consider that good business.