Tottenham Hotspur are keen on Nicolo Barella…
What’s the word?
That’s according to Italian outfit Il Messaggero, who claim that Spurs – and in particular manager Antonio Conte – are huge fans of the Italy international, as well as his Inter Milan teammate Milan Skriniar.
The 25-year-old midfielder played a big part under the Lilywhites boss during their time at the San Siro, where I Nerazzurri clinched their first Serie A title in over a decade back in 2021.
It remains to be seen how much Barella would cost the north Londoners, though CIES Football Observatory value him at a whopping €120m (£102m), so Tottenham may well need to shatter their club-record fee to secure his signature.
Shades of De Bruyne
The Inter star may not be an out-and-out no.10 but he could be the solution in Spurs’ hunt for a new playmaking midfielder. FBref liken his statistical profile to Kevin De Bruyne, so Conte could land his own version of the illustrious Belgian.
When compared to his positional peers across Europe, Barella ranks inside the top 2% for expected assists (0.24 per 90) and shot-creating actions (4.07), as well as the top 4% for touches in the opposition’s box (3.17 per 90), via FBref.
Should Spurs swoop for Barella?
Last season, he ranked as Inter’s fifth best performer in the Serie A, slightly behind new Lilywhites signing Ivan Perisic.
Barella, lauded as “warrior full of determination” by the legendary Arrigo Sacchi and “extraordinary” by his former Cagliari coach Rolando Maran, has primarily played as a no.8 but can also play deeper as a no.6 as well as further forward in the hole, making him a perfect fit for Conte.
The Spurs boss would be able to change system pretty easily with a player like this in his ranks and with the north Londoners in the Champions League this season, rotation will be key as they’ll be playing two games a week.
None of Conte’s current options are as creative as the 5 foot 8 dynamo, with the likes of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Oliver Skipp more defensively minded, with Yves Bissouma and Rodrigo Bentancur box-to-box types.
On the above evidence, Barella could be something of a De Bruyne for Spurs, so sporting director Fabio Paratici must firm up their interest with a formal offer in the coming weeks.
AND in other news, Paratici begins talks for “simply amazing” £13m-rated Spurs target, he’s Conte’s dream…