Despite Nicolò Barella’s never ending love for Cagliari and his devotion to Sardinia, it is time for him to move to a club that is equal to his talents. That is according to former Cagliari Coach Massimo Rastelli. With Antonio Conte landing at Inter, it now seems his destination is set in stone, but just what will the Nerazzurri be getting and just how much for? Will one of Europe’s most promising midfielders be ready for the biggest stage away from the home he loves so much?
There is this myth about the Sardinian native that he can’t bring himself to leave his homeland and family ties. The simple fact is, he already has. In January 2016, he went on loan to Como and enjoyed his time, the location and the accessibility to Milan. It is true that being born and bred in Sardinia’s capital, he bleeds red and blue. He began his career at the academy of the Cagliari icon, Gigi Riva and was signed for the club he doted on at the age of eight. He started his footballing life as a trequartista and made the transition into what Italians call a ‘tuttocampista’ – a jack of all trades, but this title does him a disservice.
Barella is far from the ‘Peter Pan’ type character that he is often portrayed. Yes, he is a fierce Cagliari fan and his loyalty does him credit, but he is an established midfielder on the pitch with sublime technique, excellent composure and a vision for passing that can be put against anyone in Serie A. What makes Barella special, however, is that he combines this with a dynamism and work rate that makes him the complete midfielder. He’s not a ‘jack of all trades’, because he is master of one.
Alessandro Del Piero is one of his biggest fans and has heaped praise on him, especially after the European U-19 Championships when he became a leader to that team. He has the aggression of Marco Verratti, but arguably he has a better passing range and is a far better tackler. Barella is the perfect player for Antonio Conte and Inter.
Of course, he isn’t without fault. He could get more goals and sometimes can make one too many ‘Hollywood passes’ but he is still only 22 years old. His maturity for his age will no doubt allow him to iron out his flaws.
Being older than his years was demonstrated in a recent interview. “It may be that I leave, but for now I’m focused on the national team. I’ve put my phone on silent. We’re not thinking about the market, we’re only think about playing.” It is looking more and more likely that his future is already decided, but he will come at a cost of approximately €50m.
If Inter can pull off this deal early, then they will have put their first flag in the sand to show they are serious about trying to at least start to try and challenge Juventus for supremacy in Serie A.
Ex-Coach Rastelli certainly believes Barella is ready for the challenge. “When I first started coaching Barella, I worked a lot on his mindset, but he’s a very mature player anyway, so most of the credit goes to him. He’s got great technique and has a good character as well. He just needs to stay humble and concentrate on improving himself day after day.”
Inter will have to pay for all this talent, but it will be worth every penny. The misconception is that Barella is a diamond in the rough, a mummy’s boy who can’t leave home, but all reports on his character show this is false. Instead what Inter will be purchasing is a mature and cultured midfielder who under Conte may go from being a star in Sardinia, to being one of the best for Inter and the national team. Barella could easily be the story of 2020.