Liverpool Transfer News: Reds Reportedly Face Competition for Nicolo Barella

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2018

BOLOGNA, ITALY - DECEMBER 03: Nicolo'u0092 Barella of Cagliari Calcio in action during the Serie A match between Bologna FC and Cagliari Calcio at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on December 3, 2017 in Bologna, Italy.  (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)
Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Liverpool aren't the only club reportedly interested in Nicolo Barella, with four other teams also named as possible suitors for the Cagliari midfield gem.

La Gazzetta dell Sport's Francesco Velluzzi told French source RMC Sport (h/t James Benson of the Daily Express) Serie A pair Inter Milan and Lazio, along with Lyon and "perhaps Atletico Madrid," are on the trail of the 21-year-old.

Being in a crowd of five may not hinder Liverpool's efforts to press ahead with a deal for Barella. Velluzzi also told RMC Sport "Inter (Milan) currently does not have an urgent need to try to buy Barella, unless they sell (Matias) Vecino."

Inter not being in a hurry is good news for the rest of the teams interested in Barella, particularly Liverpool. Back in March, the player was said to be favouring joining the Nerazzurri over moving to Anfield, according to Calciomercato (h/t TalkSport.com).

Barella only signed a new contract through 2022 with Cagliari back in January, but he'll likely be aware of any interest in him following an impressive personal season:

OptaPaolo @OptaPaolo

129 - Nicolò #Barella had the most recoveries among Cagliari players in Serie A this season (129). Renewal.

He helped himself to six goals and an assist during 34 appearances in the Italian top flight, as he set himself apart from fellow midfielders in his age bracket:

OptaPaolo @OptaPaolo

6 - Nicolò #Barella (6 goals) is the youngest midfielder to have scored more than 5 goals in the Big-5 european leagues 2017/18. Talent. #GenoaCagliari

The talent is obviously there for Barella, who is effortlessly combining defensive tendencies with skill in forward areas. Yet for all his ability, Barella would surely be the odd man out if he signed for Liverpool in the same summer the club has acquired Fabinho and Naby Keita.

Manager Jurgen Klopp needs to fit his new recruits into a position already featuring Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner and Adam Lallana.

Aside from spending big on Keita and Fabinho, Klopp also invested £66.9 million to acquire AS Roma goalkeeper Alisson Becker. It was a world-record fee for a stopper, and one underlining Liverpool's new willingness to splash the cash in the market.

Liverpool have invested heavily in midfield already this summer.
Liverpool have invested heavily in midfield already this summer.James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

While the Reds haven't been shy about spending, they have so far dedicated their resources to positions of obvious need. Midfield is no longer one of those, so a deal for Barella appears unlikely.