Tottenham Hotspur asked Inter Milan about the chance to sign Nicolo Barella in the summer, it has been revealed – but they did not get very far.
It was a busy summer in the transfer window for Tottenham Hotspur. With Antonio Conte at the helm, clubs can often expect big changes to their squads. After an already productive January window, Spurs were not quiet in the summer either.
Several players arrived to bolster Conte’s squad. The headline additions were Richarlison, Yves Bissouma, Clement Lenglet, Djed Spence and Ivan Perisic.
The latter came from Inter Milan, Conte’s last employers before his appointment by Tottenham last year. But Perisic was not the only player who could have ended up following his former coach to the English capital.
Indeed, Tottenham spent some time working on a potential deal for defender Alessandro Bastoni. Ultimately, it was too complicated, since the player preferred to stay put at San Siro.
Now, it has emerged that another Inter player that Tottenham were eyeing was Nicolo Barella. According to Il Corriere Dello Sport, Conte’s side asked about the availability of the Italy international midfielder.
Barella has proven to be a smart signing for Inter since they took him from Cagliari in 2019. He has surpassed the 100-appearance barrier in Serie A with the club and cemented his place as a regular feature of Roberto Mancini’s Italy squads.
Of course, he also became a Serie A title winner with Inter under Conte in the 2020-21 season.
Perhaps understandably, Inter were not ready to entertain the idea of offloading Barella, whom they still have under contract until 2026. With that in mind, they turned down Tottenham’s advances and told them not to bother them again.
Nicolo Barella would have been Tottenham upgrade
It is unclear exactly when this approach happened. Tottenham may have responded by buying Bissouma, or might have wanted Barella in addition.
They certainly missed out on the latter, though, and seem unlikely to succeed in any further attempts to take the 25-year-old. It could also come as a blow to Liverpool, who may have had their own hopes of signing Barella in recent weeks.
The Cagliari-born ace has started all five of Inter’s matches in Serie A so far this season. In total, he has amassed 140 in all competitions for the club.
From those outings, he has contributed 12 goals and 36 assists. There could be many more to come, while the likes of Tottenham will have to rely on other players.
So far this season, Conte has given appearances in midfield to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Rodrigo Bentancur and Bissouma. He will also have Oliver Skipp at his disposal.
In all honesty, Barella would have been the best of the lot if Tottenham had managed to acquire his services. He is of a higher ability than the rest.
That said, the others have made their presences known too. Hojbjerg was a shrewd signing during the Jose Mourinho era, while Bentancur has earned better reviews in the Premier League than he got in his own Serie A days with Juventus.
Tottenham should be able to get by without an extra option in the coming months. But if they still feel they need further depth or quality, perhaps it is an area they could revisit in January.
Barella will likely be off the menu, though.
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