Liverpool is reportedly monitoring the situation for a player who is supposedly available for a bargain transfer fee, resembles Luka Modrić and would suit Jürgen Klopp.
The priority midfield transfer for Liverpool in the summer transfer window is clearly Jude Bellingham. However, the Borussia Dortmund teenage sensation won’t be the only player on the club’s radar. As well as needing to have alternative options, Liverpool also needs to sign more than just one midfielder in the summer in order to bolster Jürgen Klopp’s ranks.
In a period of transition, Liverpool will likely lose three midfielders this summer whose contracts are expiring in James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keïta. Multiply that with the fact that the club is already short of midfield options at the present and it is clear with mass departures that probably will only become more severe. Quite simply, it is not something Bellingham alone can provide the antidote for.
Who the Reds will target alongside Bellingham will be interesting to see. Bellingham has a distinct box-to-box profile. He is strong in his defensive ability but can also roam forward and contribute in attack. His energy and composure on the ball will give Liverpool’s midfield a new lease of life.
To complement him, Liverpool probably needs more of a creative presence: someone who can unlock defenses and help Klopp’s side dismantle sides who provide a deep low-block against the club.
According to InterLive.it, one player who Klopp is leading the interest in to sign could fit into this category in Nicolò Barella. The Italian European Championship winner is a silky midfielder who is easy on the eye and has the ability to find himself in areas where he can cause problems to the opposition’s defense while on the ball.
The report claims that Inter Milan is in a bit of a tricky spot when it comes to the club’s financial situation and needs to sell players in order to make up for losses before the end of June, which could make Barella available to Liverpool for as little as $63m (£53m/€60m). That’s not a bad price for such an accomplished midfielder who is still only 26 years old, especially in the context of the market these days.
Barella is not only the captain of Inter Milan but he has been the key linchpin of the side, and his ability on the ball and reading of the game would definitely help elevate Liverpool’s midfield. FBref describes Luka Modrić as one of the players most similar to the Italian international and it’s an apt comparison. Just like the Real Madrid midfielder, Barella progresses the ball really well and has it in his locker to dictate games in midfield, especially when in possession of the ball.
Alongside Bellingham, he would be an ideal fit for Liverpool’s midfield in a diamond, with Fabinho able to provide the protection behind them, further rejuvenated by the fresh blood around him. Bellingham would fit the hybrid more mobile box-to-box role whereas Barella would have more freedom to roam forward, while also possessing the defensive needs to defend from the front.
Liverpool’s recent purchases from Serie A have all been fairly successful. Mohamed Salah for one and then Alisson have both gone on to become key players under Klopp. That wasn’t always the case. In the past players like Alberto Aquilani or Fabio Borini cast a bad impression of the Italian league at Anfield. But that’s certainly changed with the impact of players like Salah and Alisson, and Barella would definitely continue this recent positive trend.
This would be a rare opportunity for Liverpool to pursue a midfielder who is still in the prime of his career with plenty left at the top of his game, and who has the profile to fit into Klopp’s system like a glove. If Barella is available for anything in the region of the price claimed above, Liverpool would be smart to invest in his services this summer alongside, rather than instead of, Bellingham.