Reported Arsenal and Liverpool target Nicolo Barella is the best footballer in the whole of Serie A on current form, former Juventus and AC Milan boss Fabio Capello told Tuttomercatoweb.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Lorenzo Insigne, Romelu Lukaku and, of course, Zlatan Ibrahimovic might have something to say about this.
But, while Barella might not be the most high-profile player in Italian football, he may be the most influential right now. Inter Milan’s 5ft 8ins pocket-rocket is blossoming into a truly complete midfielder, the driving force behind the Nerazzuri’s title charge.
Barella was even compared to Manchester United great Paul Scholes after producing a goal and an assist during Inter’s 2-0 triumph over reigning champions Juventus last week, with former San Siro president Massimo Moratti hailing a ‘great’ £45 million signing.
No wonder Inter view Barella as ‘unsellable’, then.
FC Inter News reports that the Italy international will be handed a new, long-term deal to ward off interest from Premier League giants Arsenal and Liverpool.
And Capello, who rates Barella higher than any other player in Serie A, believes the former Cagliari ace shares a few similarities with another legendary midfielder – Italy’s 1982 World Cup winner Marco Tardelli.
“Barella, who resembles Tardelli for his dynamism and ability to read the games,” the one-time England boss said when asked to name Serie A’s best player.
“Then (Milan goalkeeper Gigi) Donnarumma, who is very important for Milan. Then, on equal merit, (Hakan) Calhanoglu and (Roma’s Henrikh) Mkhitaryan.”
“I think he is the best Italian midfielder at the moment,” said a man who won five Serie A titles with Juventus in the ‘70s and ‘80s (L’Union).
“He knows how to do everything. A complete player, one of those players that all coaches in the world would like.”
According to Calciomercato, Tottenham are also keen on Barella. But don’t expect Inter Milan to give him up without a fight.