Tottenham Hotspur are said to be interested in Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella, according to a report from Italian news outlet Calciomercato.
The impressive 23-year-old has emerged as one of the stars of Serie A, just 18 months after joining Antonio Conte’s side in a €49m (£45m) deal from Cagliari, where his former head coach Rolando Maran labelled him “extraordinary.”
And out of this world is exactly what he’s been.
Last season, the 18-cap Italian international scored four goals and provided eight assists in all competitions and he looks set to top that this term having already bagged three goals and nine assists at the half-way point, per Transfermarkt.
On Sunday night, he proved to be an influential presence once again as Inter defeated defending champions Juventus at the San Siro, which had The Athletic’s James Horncastle waxing lyrical over his creative ability.
Former Italy manager Arrigo Sacchi has also been blown away by him too, speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport’s print edition on Tuesday (via Sempre Inter), he said:
“He is a warrior full of determination,” before adding: “I’ve never seen anyone improve like Barella.”
Indeed, Barella received the highest rating (8.5) of any player on that evening as he recorded three key passes, made 91% of his 57 passing attempts and enjoyed three successful dribbles on top of scoring and assisting in the 2-0 win, as per SofaScore.
His passing masterclass here was merely a recurring theme of the Italian’s season thus far, where he has proven to be a lethal threat higher up the pitch.
Only Alexis Sanchez and Marcelo Brozovic have averaged more key passes (1.6) per game than Barella (1.4) in the league this campaign, whilst the young box-to-box maestro is second for providing assists too, via WhoScored.
When you compare that to Spurs’ current options, you’ll soon see he’s clear of everyone bar Heung-min Son and Harry Kane.
The Inter sensation has contributed towards more goals this PL season than Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, Steven Bergwijn, Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela combined.
Given how much Jose Mourinho has relied on his prolific duo for goals – they have bagged 73% of their 33 goals so far in the Premier League – adding a new dimension to their attack through Barella could be game-changing.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy really could take his club to a new level by sanctioning a move for Barella – just imagine the damage they could do with the 23-year-old playing alongside Son and Kane.
Earlier this week, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano told listeners on his ‘Here We Go’ podcast that Barella was “the best Italian midfielder at the minute,” which would put him above the likes of Chelsea star Jorginho, PSG’s Marco Veratti and even namesake Nicolo Zaniolo.
Also dubbed “world-class” by former USA international Jimmy Conrad, the £49.5m-rated monster really could transform Spurs from Europa League hopefuls into a side that wants to compete for the Premier League and reach another Champions League final.
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