Premier League heavyweights Arsenal have reportedly opened negotiations with Cagliari over a January move for Nicolo Barella, who is also a Liverpool target.
As per a report from Tribal Football, Arsenal have taken the first step in trying to sign Italy international Nicolo Barella in January, by initiating talks with Cagliari. The midfielder is also a transfer target for Liverpool.
Barella, 21, is regarded as one of the most talented young midfielders in the Serie A scenes. A product of the Cagliari youth academy, he made his first-team debut back in 2015 and has since gone on to represent the team on 84 occasions, scoring seven goals and setting up two more in the process.
In the ongoing campaign, the 21-year-old has chalked up ten appearances, captaining the team in three of those matches. Impressed with his performances, Italy manager Roberto Mancini handed Barella his international debut in the recently concluded international break in the friendly against Ukraine, following which he started the UEFA Nations League win against Poland.
Barella’s rise to prominence in Italy hasn’t gone unnoticed, with a number of teams across Europe taking note of his rapid progress, including the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and AC Milan. However, chief among those clubs are Arsenal.
The Gunners are reportedly lining up a move for the Italy international in the January transfer window. Arsenal are in the market for a new central midfielder, after it emerged that Aaron Ramsey will be leaving the club when his contract expires at the end of the season, with negotiations over an extension not bearing fruit.
The Wales international is being pursued by Manchester United and Chelsea, and the 27-year-old is understood to be open to joining the Gunners’ direct rivals. And, Arsenal manager Unai Emery has identified the 21-year-old Barella as a direct replacement for Ramsey.
To that end, the North Londoners have already opened a channel of communication with Cagliari, inquiring about the player’s availability and asking to be kept informed about his situation.
Liverpool, on the other hand, are well-stocked in the midfield department, with Naby Keita and Fabinho joining in the summer, to add to the existing contingent of captain Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum along with Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, however, remains keen on adding another midfielder to the roster, considering Milner’s advancing age and the injury issues that have plagued Lallana and Oxlade-Chamberlain of late. And, the German tactician seems to have narrowed down on the young Barella as a viable target.
Barella’s current contract with Cagliari Calcio, that he signed in January earlier this year, runs till the summer of 2022. And, any transfer in January would see the Serie A side demand a hefty fee for their prized asset.
With Arsenal already opening talks with the Italians, they seem to have taken a step ahead of Liverpool and other suitors in the 21-year-old’s pursuit. But, it remains to be seen if they will be able to sign the two-time capped Italy international.