Liverpool’s search for a long-term Georginio Wijnaldum replacement is still ongoing but Jurgen Klopp has been reminded of one potential option who looks ready to be the man
Since influential midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum left Liverpool during the summer transfer window to join Paris Saint-Germain, Jurgen Klopp and the Anfield recruitment team have been searching for a replacement.
But the Reds boss has now been handed a reminder of the “complete player” who could well be ready to fill that void.
Inter Milan dynamo Nicolo Barella, who helped his club to the Serie A title last season, scored a trademark belter for Italy to open the scoring against Belgium in Sunday’s victorious Nations League third-place play-off.
His all-around performance affirmed that the 24-year-old, who is contracted at the San Siro until 2024, has the top-level credentials to be the future of Liverpool’s midfield alongside the likes of Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones.
Alessandro di Marco/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
And his national team manager tipped him for big things well before the tournament in which he scored one goal and provided two assists as the Azzurri came out on top in July, beating England in a penalty shoot-out.
“Barella can become the star of the European Championships,” Mancini, who used to manager Inter, told Gazzetta dello Sport in January.
“He is a complete player.”
Inter via Getty Images)
The ex-Manchester City boss also spoke of the midfielder’s ability to find the back of the net – from long or short range – after he had bagged one of five goals for club and country last term against Juventus.
“I told him right away that he could score more goals,” Mancini revealed.
“He’s got good timing, he shoots well and he’s good in the air, as seen by his goal against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.”
He added: “The goal against Juventus was beautiful, but strange.
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“In today’s football it is difficult to see a team cut out like that by one pass.”
Say it quietly but much like reported Reds target Jude Bellingham, there are heavy resemblances to Anfield legend Steven Gerrard in the Inter man’s profile.
And although Wijnaldum’s qualities were more in the middle third, the box-to-box Barella has also shown a creative side to his game to emulate the Dutchman, both under Antonio Conte and Simeone Inzaghi following his 2019 transfer from Cagliari.
He registered seven assists for the Nerrazzuri in 2020-21, besting the four he previously recorded across the prior campaign.
And the Italian star already has five in just seven Serie A outings this season, the most in the division, with one dribble per-90 minutes to boot.
Barella is also adept when it comes to the grittier parts of the game, averaging 1.7 tackles a matches in league play since August.
Although his club are strapped for cash following owners Suning’s liquidation, it would be hard to argue Klopp would be able to acquire such a talent for less than football database transfermarkt‘s value of £50.5million
Nevertheless, it could be a worthwhile investment for the present and future on Merseyside.