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Chelsea and Napoli Wanted Nicolo Barella in January, Says Cagliari President

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIMarch 23, 2019

GENK, BELGIUM - NOVEMBER 20: Nicolo Barella of Italy  during the  International Friendly match between Italy  v USA  at the KRC Genk Arena on November 20, 2018 in Genk Belgium (Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Chelsea and Napoli both wanted to sign Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella in the January transfer window, according to the club's president, Tommaso Giulini.

However, the Serie A side were not interested in selling their Italy international despite interest from a number of clubs, Giulini told Corriere dello Sport (h/t Metro).

"Barella was never close to a January exit. I cannot deny that there was concrete interest from Napoli in January. Maurizio Sarri also wanted him at Chelsea. As for Inter, that was just a chat, nothing more."

The midfielder has risen through the youth ranks at Cagliari but made the breakthrough into the first team last season, going on to make 34 appearances for the Sardinian team.

His form also saw him called up to the senior Italy team, and he made his international debut for the Azzurri in October 2018 in a friendly against Ukraine.

Barella has continued to impress for Cagliari this season:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Nicolò Barella: Has won possession in the attacking third more times (24) than any other player in Serie A this season For more player stats -- https://t.co/hTkrcbGQjf https://t.co/c1lTCdCLC3

However, the 22-year-old has said this season could be his last with Rolando Maran's side:

David Amoyal @DavidAmoyal

#Barella:”I vowed to finish the season at #Cagliari but I don’t know what future holds” https://t.co/SQCMexx039

Premier League side Arsenal also appear to have joined the race for his signature. The Gunners sent scouts to watch him in action against Inter Milan, according to Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Football Italia).

Yet Cagliari will not allow such a talented young player to leave easily. Giulini has said clubs will have to spend big if they are to lure him away from the Sardegna Arena:

footballitalia @footballitalia

#Cagliari President Tommaso Giulini confirms #Napoli and #ChelseaFC came closer than #Inter to Nicolò Barella, but “it’ll take more than €50m.” https://t.co/ObGp8nnbUd #CFC #FCIM #SerieA #AFC #ITAFIN https://t.co/SpavLCERM6

Barella has been able to continue his development out of the spotlight this season, enjoying regular football at Cagliari, which may not have been the case had he moved in the January window.

It looks likely clubs will revive their interest in the youngster in the summer transfer window, and it would be little surprise if he were to take the next step in his career and move on.

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