Tuesday January 16 2018
That boy Barella

One of Italy’s hottest talents, Cagliari midfielder Nicolò Barella is ready to assume a role at a big club, writes Wayne Girard.

Luigi Riva. Roberto Boninsegna. Angelo Domenghini. Gianfranco Zola. Daniele Conti. Radja Nainggolan. A volatile crossroad in the Mediterranean since the wars between the Aragonese and the Saracens, the ancient island of Sardinia has harboured top talent throughout its history.

Such energy has played its part in manifesting great players for its football club, and Cagliari Calcio’s list of marquee names above is something noteworthy – especially when gazing through the club’s humble trophy cabinet. The Sardinians have produced another gem on the emerald coast isle, in the form of Nicolò Barella.

The young midfielder’s growth has been exponential, so much that he has already attracted the eyes of some top suitors within the league and abroad. Sure, at 20 years old he possesses the features you would expect from an up and coming player.  He is energetic, can hold his own in the centre of the pitch, and is watchful of his defense – all attributes needed to become a decent central midfielder.

Yet this attention is granted due to the rarity of his style – the finer details that set him apart from utility midfielders, or those that rely purely on their attacking skills. Seeing the fine points of the game is what makes Barella so coveted.

When the Sardinian native faced off against Hellas Verona in the beginning of November, he made a case for his maturity. Weaving pass after pass through Verona’s middle and defensive third helped Coach Diego Lopez claim a victory in the mid-table scrap. A brainy performance paired with a certain calmness would become almost regular as the season moved forward.

Just two weeks later, an away trip to the Dacia Arena saw another win for the Casteddu. After resisting countless pressure from Udinese in the first half, Barella kept his composure with his teammates to launch an assault just as whistle restarted play. In a movement that would put shame to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet, his lobbed ball curved between three defenders and on to the head of Joao Pedro for the only goal of the match. That missile pass has become something of a trademark for his vision. 

His two goals came during the months of September and October, against SPAL and Torino respectively. While the former was a left-footed volley, the latter came as part of a spectacular counter-attack, which the midfielder gained after a blistering run down the right flank. As the team grows in confidence throughout the second half of the season, we can expect to see him keep scoring a variety of such goals.

His attacking talents are juxtaposed to his defensive reading of the play. Leading the Sardi in tackles won on average, the hometown boy’s timely precision to win the ball back has helped dissipate the opponent’s attack, as Lopez’s squad often find themselves facing high pressure. Sliding and winning, he produces that threat to commence the attack, and immediately drive play forward with another long pass.

As the January transfer window reaches its halfway point, President Tommaso Giulini has raised his price for the young player twice – first at €30m, before claiming he was suddenly worth an additional €20m on top of that. While the number sounds like a bluff, any deal during the winter could climb well above the initial quote.

The young Italian’s future will surely take him to the heights of world football, if not this winter, then surely in the near future. But in just a short amount of time, whether staying or sailing to new shores, Barella has quickly cemented his spot as a Cagliaritani hero. 

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Have your say...
It looks like Juventus is more interested in Han than it is for Barella.
Meanwhile TUTTOSPORT urges Juventus to sign Emre Can and De Vrji as quickly as they can.
I have my doubts about the truth regarding the rumours about the central defender.
This because if Juve confirms Howedes and if Caldara arrives in the summer we'd have far too many stoppers.
Especially with Benatia and Chiellini playing so well at the moment.
on the 20th January, 2018 at 5:53am
And he will stay at Cagliari if Juventus signs him.
Better to have the chance, however slim, to join one of the ELITE Clubs in the world of football, then play second fiddle in a "seconda fascia" team with very little chance of winning anything.
Having pointed this out, then it is Barella's choice to make.
With the help of his advisors.
If he progresses well enough, he'd have his chance, as Juventus will have to fill 7 positions in its squad in the near future.
on the 18th January, 2018 at 2:42pm

he could become number 52 on the list of players loan by juventus to other clubs. At least chelsea had the good grace to buy a club to send their loan players to.

How can anyone think this is system which will bring the best out of players barella is honestly better staying at calgari unless a larger club comes along and offer guarantees that he will starting on a regular basis.
on the 18th January, 2018 at 12:17pm
If Barella joins Juventus, he can stay at Cagliari and progress at his own pace.
You could argue that he might be better off in joining a good "seconda fascia" Club, but his "cartellino" takes him out of reach of a lot of teams.
Juventus of course has plenty money to invest, as they sell well and buy even better!
It's up to Barella and his advisors to weigh everything up.
on the 17th January, 2018 at 7:25pm
I can't really see how going to larger club and sitting on the bench is going to help barella development as a player. I would think that he best option at the moment is to stay put after all he is only 20 there is plenty of time to win trophies. he should follow verdi example

BTW i think it has been missed that football is played outside of Europe and that every league has a summer break. The summer and winter transfer window are equally flawed as one another.
on the 17th January, 2018 at 12:20pm
@Maldini's Heir, you're just pissed that Milan bought a whole team over the summer, not every club would chose to undergo such a foolish amount of change in one summer.

Clubs should be able to choose what they want to do. If they decide to run their club into mediocrity and bankruptcy, that is their choice and is part of the entertainment that football provides as well as showing the importance of having a good director of sport.
on the 17th January, 2018 at 9:22am

Juventus signs young players in the January window as well as in the summer months.
However given the might of its awesome squad, Juventus can afford to leave the young prospects to mature at the Clubs they are purchased from. They do this to monitor their progress as they play in the first team. Juventus can leave players for entire seasons, or like in the case of Caldara, they are left to gain confidence for 18 months. Some Under 21s like Orsolini are left for 6 months and
on the 17th January, 2018 at 5:41am
I agree with Verdi's decision to stay put as well. Politano would enjoy a transfer much more atm anyhow.

Barella is a really impressive prospect.
Imagine Italy 2020 midfield of Jorginho, Verratti and Barella?
on the 17th January, 2018 at 5:39am
January should be about covering for injuries and, if the right player comes along, going for a player who can give a boost for the final run in. If I had my way clubs would be restricted to one signing in January and 3 in the summer. We need to end the transfer madness since it damages players and football.
on the 16th January, 2018 at 11:59pm
Barella and other players should take a leaf out of Verdi's book and stay put in January. Why doesn't anyone think that a top athlete can just switch teams midway through a season. It's not some bar job. These are supposed to be professional football players. They've working to specific training regimes, specific tactics and with specific team mates. There's no guarantee that those conditions can be reproduced elsewhere let alone midway through a season.
on the 16th January, 2018 at 11:56pm
Barella, Pellegri and Han will be the next 3 young players to come to Juventus who haven't been signed already.
on the 16th January, 2018 at 11:04pm
I believe juve will get him sooner or later. When they do get him i hope they dont loan him. If they do, a one year loan may not be that bad. His passing ability is great and he has many other good attributes so i honestly hope they get and keep him.
on the 16th January, 2018 at 9:03pm
Unfortunely there is no certainty in football.
The Baggio's, Del Piero's, Maradona's, even Totti's are easily spotted as "fuoriclasse" when in their teens.
Even a Cassano................. But they progress if they have the right personality.
on the 16th January, 2018 at 6:19pm
Barella is a unique player and i think he can help out any top team. he will become a great player, however, he must make the leap in quality and he will join Juve i think. but who knows, napoli and inter have been tracking him as well as Man Utd
on the 16th January, 2018 at 6:18pm

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