Man City: Nicolò Barella could replace Gundogan
Manchester City are considering signing Nicolò Barella to replace Ilkay Gundogan this summer.
The German is out of contract at the end of the month yet is contributing as much value to Pep Guardiola’s side as he did throughout his time at the Etihad.
The midfielder has 11 goals and seven assists this season, bagging three doubles in his last six games. Gundogan put Manchester United to the sword in the FA Cup final, scoring from outside the 18-yard box twice.
So, how can Manchester City replace such a clutch player?
Is Nicolo Barella joining Manchester City?
According to reports in Italy (via Sport Witness), Pep Guardiola wants Barella at Man City to replace the Barcelona-bound Gundogan and could have a very opportune chance to speak to him this weekend.
Inter and City lock horns in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday (8PM BST) but following the match, there could be the chance to discuss Man City signing Barella this summer.
Guardiola “dotes” on the Italian maestro and could present a “mind-boggling offer to snatch him from Inzaghi”. While the report doesn’t mention how much it would cost, Inter Live reported in February that Inter want €90-100m (£80-88.5m) to part ways with Barella.
It’s noted by Sportmediaset, as per FC Inter News, that Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle United are also following Barella “closely”.
How good is Nicolo Barella?
While speaking on commentary for Channel 4 ahead of a Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy in March, Steven Gerrard waxed lyrical about Barella.
He said: “They [Italy] have potential world class players emerging now. Now you have the likes of Barella, Raspadori. These are players who could become world class over the course of their careers.”
Barella, specifically, has continued to demonstrate his class and it’s no fluke that he and his Inter teammates have reached the final of the Champions League.
Like Gundogan, Barella is an extremely dangerous midfielder to play against. Not only is he capable of dictating games, playing more passes into the box than 90% of Europe’s midfielders, but he is also a threat himself in the 18-yard area. This season, he has nine goals and ten assists, surpassing projections for expected goals and assists.
Replacing Gundogan with Barella would once again highlight Man City’s relentless approach in the transfer market. Rarely has there been a club so consistent when replacing key players – Sergio Aguero left and he was soon replaced by Erling Haaland.
Barella could be next for the Premier League champions.