Watch Jurgen klopp send transfer message to his favorite inter Milan player to partner Thiago Alcantara
The Inter Milan midfielder has been linked with a move to Liverpool, and the 25-year-old Italy international has a lot going for him.
Bernardo Silva, lkay Gündogan, and Frenkie de Jong, are among the most stylistically similar players to the Inter man. Kevin de Bruyne is the third most comparable player.
Nicola Barella is only in the seventh percentile for pressures and the tenth percentile for interceptions off the ball. In tackles and aerial duels, he performs marginally better, but he is still not the best fit.
That could be due to a style difference between Inter and Liverpool, and he could improve in those areas under Jürgen Klopp, but it does not appear to be a good situation on paper.
The figures he’s been putting up in terms of offense are far more encouraging: 98th percentile for projected assists and shot-creating actions, and 97th percentile for non-penalty expected goals and assists combined.
The numbers portray a player who gets the ball in good positions and then makes the most use of it when he has it — the type of player that Liverpool does not have, at least not in the completed product.
Perhaps it’s due to his seeming lack of effect off the ball. No one is immune to being called upon to press for a comeback at Anfield, and that would be a major obstacle to overcome.
But Steven Gerrard has been encouraging Liverpool to buy a midfielder who can make a difference in the final third, and Barella may be that player, thanks to Thiago Alcântara playing Darwin Nez and Mohamed Salah into openings.
With his midfield-splitting progressive passes, Thiago, in particular, would relish on finding him in pockets, making the Spaniard the ideal foil for the Italian.
“When you saw the game you are really happy that Barella is not playing, because I think he set up I think three or four [in Inter’s last game],”
In his pre-match news conference, Klopp cracked a joke before of Liverpool’s Champions League last-16 match against Inter.
Barella was sent off against Real Madrid on matchday six of the group stage, and it was a costly blunder, as UEFA increased his suspension from one to two games, with both legs against Liverpool.
He was a costly absentee throughout the tie, and there was a perception in Italy that if he had been fit, the then-Serie A champions would have given the Reds a far tougher fight.
Inter Milan wants £77 million (€90 million) for Barella, who is valued at £63 million. It was even suggested that they may accept Naby Keta as a part of the deal.
Liverpool, though, insist that their summer transfer business is complete. Jude Bellingham is a target for 2023 and it seems more likely they would move then by which time, Keïta will either have agreed a new deal, or will leave on a free.