With Liverpool strongly linked with a move for Jude Bellingham, one midfielder who stands out as a perfect alternative is Nicola Barella.
The Inter Milan midfielder has the perfect make-up to play in this Liverpool midfield and is someone that Jurgen Klopp is an admirer of.
It is apparent that Bellingham will be chased by at least ‘five top clubs’ according to Mundo Deportivo, which means Liverpool might need a ‘Plan B’.
Enter Barella – a fan favourite in Milan and Italy – who has all the makings of a ‘Klopp-esque’ midfielder.
Liverpool linked with Nicolo Barella today. One player I'd love to see at Liverpool. So dynamic, versatile and creative. https://t.co/hLfX7eQVIW
— DaveOCKOP (@DaveOCKOP) June 27, 2022
Does he suit Liverpool?
The answer is most certainly yes.
Barella’s profile sees him as an all-round midfielder, comfortable on the ball due to his technical ability whilst also possessing an aggressive pressing nature.
Liverpool play on the front foot and need dynamic players with quick feet to do so; Barella offers that in abundance and would be perfect playing in the ‘8’ role in Klopp’s 4-3-3 midfield.
Whilst he doesn’t offer a major goal threat (scoring four goals in all competitions last season) he offers creativity, as he’s totalled double figures for assists in the last two seasons.
According to Soccermint, Barella ranks top for midfielders in Europe as an expected threat for box-to-box midfielders.
This translates as the Italian having the highest probability of creating goal-scoring opportunities via his passing and ball-carrying ability – a trait that would no doubt improve Klopp’s midfield.
He ranks higher than the likes of Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Bellingham, and by some distance too.
Klopp rates Nicolo Barella, and the Italian midfielder could be an alternative to Jude Bellingham.
— The Anfield Buzz (@TheAnfieldBuzz) June 27, 2022
Alternative to Bellingham?
As previously mentioned, a whole host of top clubs will be battling it out in a brutal bidding war for Bellingham next summer, meaning there could be a free run at Barella.
Whereas Inter Milan isn’t a club to lets anyone go cheap, Liverpool would have to pay over the odds considering his contract isn’t due to run out until 2026.
When comparing the two players directly, using a complex comparison matrix, it showed Barella was the more creative out of the two with better passing and vision and also edged out the Englishman defensively.
However, Bellingham was slightly more effective in attacking, dribbling and physically too.
Albeit an expensive alternative, his all-round profile as a more diminutive midfielder would fit the Naby Keita/Georginio Wijnaldum/Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain mould better than Bellingham’s taller, more balanced and calmer style.
He’s reportedly valued at £63million with four years left on his contract with Inter.
A player formally managed by Antonio Conte at Milan, he’s used to the demands of an aggressive style of play whilst also possessing great pace and energy.
He would be a dream alternative for Klopp, should the Bellingham transfer prove too difficult.