The president of Serie A outfit Cagliari has this morning confirmed that both Napoli and Chelsea expressed an interest in the signature of Nicolo Barella during the winter transfer window.
Barella, a gifted Italian international, came up through the youth ranks of Cagliari, before breaking into the club’s first team setup on a consistent basis during the 2016/17 campaign.
And the 22-year-old has since gone on to establish himself as one of the most highly-regarded youngsters in Italy.
Barella combines all of the key attributes of a modern-day midfielder, with the former Como loanee equally comfortable controlling the tempo of a clash through his wide-ranging of passing as he is breaking up the attacks of opposing sides with a crunching challenge.
Perfectly summing up the all-action stylings of the Cagliari star were his haul of 6 goals, to go along with 13 yellow cards and 1 red in Serie A last season.
As such, unsurprisingly, Barella’s impressive form in his home country has not gone unnoticed across Europe.
The 4-time capped Italian international was heavily-linked with a move away from Sardinia in January, with Premier League giants Chelsea the outfit most persistently-touted as a potential destination.
Following Cesc Fabregas’ departure for Monaco, it was claimed that the Blues were ready to meet Cagliari’s 50 million Euro valuation of their star man.
‘Wanted him at Chelsea’
In the end, a move never came to fruition, though Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini this morning confirmed that both Chelsea and Napoli did indeed express a keen interest in Barella’s signature during the winter transfer window.
Speaking in an interview with the Corriere dello Sport, Giulini revealed:
‘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.’
When pressed on Barella’s rumoured 45-50 million Euro price-tag, the Cagliari chief continued:
‘Maybe it’ll take more, seeing as next year it is his beloved Cagliari’s Centenary.’
‘I don’t know what his future holds, but he is a player who can grow a great deal more. We hope he can continue to do that while wearing our jersey.’
‘It’s banal to make the comparison, but he does remind me of Radja Nainggolan, even if Nicolò is more technically-gifted than Radja.’