Liverpool could risk missing out on 26 y/o as two EPL rivals take action

Liverpool could be at risk of missing out on one of their reported midfield transfer targets after two rival Premier League clubs took matters into their own hands, according to sources from Italy.

Gazzetta dello Sport claimed that Inter Milan have received phone calls from both Manchester United and Chelsea regarding Nicolo Barella, who’s also been linked with Newcastle.

The report did state that the Reds still appear to be in pole position to sign the 26-year-old, although the action from Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge could jolt Jorg Schmadtke and co into making their own advances before their top-flight rivals get around to exploring the possibility of a deal with the Nerazzurri.

The Champions League runners-up are understood to be resigned to losing the Italy international this summer due to the superior financial position of the English suitors.

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Even with Liverpool believed to still be favourites for Barella, the Anfield hierarchy could be sparked into action after hearing of the calls made by United and Chelsea, who’ve both shown zero reluctance in recent months to spend big in order to get the players they want.

The Reds may need to do likewise if they’re to sign the midfielder, with Inter reportedly placing an €80m (£68.6m) price tag on him, which is no great surprise considering how crucial he is to Simone Inzaghi’s side.

Nobody played more minutes for the Nerazzurri in Serie A than the 26-year-old, who was their fourth-best performer according to WhoScored metrics and chipped in with a solid return of nine goals and 10 assists in 52 appearances across all competitions last season (Transfermarkt).

Barella would likely take up a substantial portion of Liverpool’s transfer budget if they do sign him, although it isn’t for nothing that his club have set such a prohibitive asking price, and it could come down to whether the Reds believe he’d justify a significant outlay.

Jurgen Klopp obviously wouldn’t want to see the player going to a Premier League rival, but even if it does happen, the Merseysiders still have numerous other midfield targets to focus upon, most of whom would likely cost less than the Italian.

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