According to Italian news outlet Calcio Mercato, Liverpool are preparing a move for Inter Milan midfielder Barella, with a potential swap deal on the cards to bring down the club’s asking price for the player.
As per the report, the Reds are willing to offer Naby Keita to lower the transfer fee of €90m (£77.2m) wanted by the Serie A club.
It is no secret that Jurgen Klopp has been exploring the idea of bringing in a new midfielder at Anfield with Aurelien Tchouameni reportedly agreeing terms with Liverpool before making his move to Real Madrid earlier this month.
Liverpool’s midfield have a number of players who are already in their 30s with Thiago Alcantara, Jordan Henderson and James Milner occupying spots in the centre of the pitch, and it is clear that the club is looking to the future with the desire to add youth into their already talented team.
Klopp is already a huge admirer of Barella, reserving high praise for the 25-year-old who he dubbed “top class” ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Inter Milan in the Champions League last season;
“He’s a really good player, a really good player and I like him a lot. He has all the things you want from a midfield player: he is aggressive, he is technical, he can run for ages and all these kinds of things. That’s a top-class player.”
The German coach could sign his very own Kevin De Bruyne to compete with Premier League title rivals Manchester City next season, as according to FBref, De Bruyne is the third most comparable player to the Italian star over the last season.
Although the Man City midfielder has a much better record when it comes to goal contributions, scoring 15 goals compared to Barella’s three, Klopp rarely deploys his midfielders with expectations of scoring and prefers to see effective link-up play and pressing from the centre of the pitch.
Barella has completed over 300 more passes, won over twice as many tackles, completed more dribbles and has a better pressure percentage (29%) than De Bruyne, all of which Klopp will value highly if he can acquire Barella’s services next season.
The midfielder also ranked first for the most key passes completed and ranked third in chance creation last season in the entirety of the Serie A.
With that being said, signing Barella would be a major coup for Liverpool if they could secure a deal for the player ahead of next season and offering Keita could be a great way to sweeten the deal with Inter Milan.