Juventus v FC Internazionale - Coppa Italia Final
Photo by Sportinfoto/vi/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Balotelli in Liverpool’s past 6 Italians as Klopp eyes ‘top-class’ £77m star

Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images

Liverpool are interested in signing Nicolo Barella and are prepared to include Naby Keita in a player-plus-cash swap this summer, which would make the Inter Milan star the Reds’ seventh Italian so far.

Barella has dazzled in Serie A since he switched Cagliari for the San Siro in an initial loan deal in 2019 that the Nerazzurri made permanent. Inter agreed a €50m (£43m) package with the Sardegna Arena natives, with a €12m (£10.5m) fee for one term plus a €25m (£21.5m) option to buy before add-ons.

The 39-cap Azzurri technician’s displays have since seen Barella earn a new €5m-a-season (£82.5k-a/w), five-year contract last November. He also went on to end the campaign with four goals and 13 assists in 48 appearances, including breaking the deadlock in the Coppa Italia final to beat Juventus.

Photo by Emilio Andreoli – Inter/Inter via Getty Images

Liverpool are interested in Keita swap deal to sign Barella from Inter Milan

Now, CalcioMercatoWeb report Liverpool are interested in agreeing a swap deal with Inter Milan for Barella involving Keita as the 25-year-old has bewitched Jurgen Klopp. The Italian also wants to work under the Reds boss at all costs, but the Nerazzurri are very loath to sell a cornerstone of their plans.

So, Inter Milan have slapped a €90m (£77m) asking price on Barella to try and ward off Liverpool and Klopp’s interest. San Siro chiefs are also not too fond of Keita joining them in part-exchange for their lynchpin, as the Anfield hierarchy look to move the £48m man on with one year left on his contract.

STRANGEST Contracts In Football | Anti-Arsenal And Nightclub Clause?!

Liverpool, then, have ground to make up to reach an agreement with Inter Milan for Barella to move to Merseyside. Yet it is no surprise that Klopp is interested in taking the midfielder to Anfield, having showered him with praise this March whilst discussing Barella missing the Champions League clash.

“[Barella] is a really good player, a really good player,” Klopp enthused, via quotes by Eurosport. “I like him a lot. He has all the things you want from a midfield player. He’s aggressive, he’s technically [strong], he can run for ages and all these kinds of things. So he’s a top-class player.”

So, should Liverpool now step up the club’s interest and agree a fee with Inter Milan to sign Barella – with Keita involved or not – the midfielder would become the Reds’ seventh Italian player to date…

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Balotelli the last Italian to play for Liverpool amid Klopp’s interest in Inter’s Barella

Mario Balotelli is the last Italian to play for Liverpool for Barella to possibly now follow amid Klopp’s interest in the Inter Milan star. The Reds signed the forward from AC Milan in 2014 for £16m, just 17 months after he left Manchester City for the San Siro. Yet Balotelli would only last two years in red.

Liverpool brought Balotelli’s underwhelming Anfield adventure to an early end in 2016 and let him join OGC Nice for free. The 36-cap Azzurri frontman offered just four goals over 28 games across all competitions on Merseyside, while even returning to AC Milan on loan for the 2015/16 campaign.

Barella would hope for greater Liverpool success than Borini enjoyed amid Klopp’s interest

Liverpool signed Fabio Borini from Roma in July 2012 as Brendan Rodgers’ first transfer in charge to maintain an Italian presence at Anfield. The forward cost the Reds £11m, yet only scored three goals and created another three from 38 appearances before joining Sunderland for £8m, rising to £10m.

The Black Cats agreed a permanent transfer for Borini in 2015 after also taking him on loan over the 2013/14 campaign. He would later return to Italy with AC Milan in 2017 in an initial loan they made permanent for £5m. Yet after a spell at Hellas Verona in 2020, he is now in Turkey with Karagumruk.

Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Aquilani made Merseyside move as Benitez replaced Alonso in 2009

Alberto Aquilani made his move to Merseyside in August 2009 as Rafa Benitez sought to replace Xabi Alonso. The Spaniard agreed to pay Roma £20m once Alonso joined Real Madrid, despite the Italian recovering from an operation to his right ankle and not playing for the Giallorossi since that March.

He would not debut for the Reds until October 2009 and made 26 appearances in all competitions during his maiden campaign. Loan transfers then followed with Juventus in 2010/11 and AC Milan in 2011/12 before joining Fiorentina in August 2012 to clear his £5m-a-year salary after just 28 games.

Dossena spent two seasons at Anfield before securing Italy return

Andrea Dossena spent just two seasons at Anfield before the left-back secured a return to Italy with Napoli. Liverpool had signed the 10-cap Azzurri ace from Udinese in 2008 for £7m, yet he only made 31 appearances. The Italian additionally only featured five times in total during the 2009/10 season.

Napoli signed Dossena from Liverpool in January 2010 and kept him until 2013, when the Lodi-born dynamo returned to England with Sunderland. A year later and he was on the move again, this time to Leyton Orient for another year before Swiss side FC Chiasso and then back to Italy with Piacenza.

Liverpool opted against retaining Padelli after 2007 loan from Sampdoria

Liverpool signed Daniele Padelli on loan from Sampdoria in January 2007 and held an option to buy the then-Italy U21 goalkeeper, per BBC Sport. But the Reds elected against retaining the Lecco-born shot-stopper as he made his only appearance on the final day in a 2-2 draw with Charlton Athletic.

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Argentine-born Paletta made Liverpool move eight years before Italy debut

Liverpool signed Gabriel Paletta from Argentinean side CA Banfield in 2006 after agreeing a £2m fee that February in a deal considered a coup at the time. Yet the defender headed back to Argentina in August 2007 with Boca Juniors, having only featured eight times for the Reds across all competitions.

Paletta would earn another shot in Europe in 2010 with Parma before joining AC Milan in 2015. He also made his international debut for Italy in 2014 and featured for the Azzurri at that year’s World Cup during a group stage win over England, beside Andrea Barzagli and ahead of Leonardo Bonucci.

Klopp, then, will hope Barella enjoys a career at Anfield much more successful than the Italians who have previously played for Liverpool if his interest in the Inter Milan star materialises into a transfer.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
or Comment Below
LOGIN to Comment
LOGIN to Comment