Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini has admitted it will be tough for the club to keep hold of Nicolo Barella.
The midfielder was linked with a move away from Cagliari in January, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United all reportedly interested and likely to enquire once more in the summer.
Could Barella leave Cagliari? Five key things to know…
- Nicolo Barella is a product of the Cagliari academy, making his debut as an 18-year-old in 2015.
- The 22-year-old has missed just two Serie A games for Cagliari this season and has captained the club on occasion.
- As a result of solid performances, Barella has been linked with a move to the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd.
- And Cagliari’s president has admitted it will be tough for the club to keep hold of Barella.
- Only three players have won more tackles than Barella’s 52 in Serie A this season.
A solid multi-functional midfielder, Barella has played 27 times for Cagliari in Serie A so far this season, winning 52 tackles – the fourth-highest in the division.
And with his performances getting better, in addition to featuring more for Italy, Cagliari’s president concedes the club will struggle to keep Barella.
He told reporters: “It would be marvellous to keep him with us and grow together, but I don’t know how realistic that is as things stand.”
Despite Barella’s impressive performances, Cagliari have been struggling in Serie A this season, sitting 13th with nine games remaining.
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But Giulini is optimistic for the future, with Cagliari planning to build a new stadium, adding: “That was a fundamental step [being given the go ahead to build] and it came at the last second. Now we can start with the definitive planning and hope to complete that by the end of the year.
“With a new stadium, we can raise our ambitions. It’s difficult to fight it out with clubs who have enormous budgets, but look at what Atalanta have done in recent years. We’ll try to follow that example.”
Who is Nicolo Barella?
It must always be approached with caution when young players are compared to older legends in their position because so many factors can affect a footballing career.
But 22-year-old Barella has already been compared to Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan for his impact in both defensive and attacking parts of midfield.
Despite predominantly playing as a central midfielder, Barella is also capable of playing as a no.10 or sitting just in front of his back line as a defensive shield.
Barella was largely linked with a move to Chelsea in January, with the club looking to toughen up their midfield, but reportedly turned down the switch despite Cagliari accepting a bid due to family reasons.
This could give Cagliari some hope of keeping hold of their man for at least another season but the Italian club will have a tough task of their hands this summer.