Friday, September 29, 2023

Manchester United Plot A Bid For Serie A Wonder Kid: Where Does He Fit Into Jose’s Plans?

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Bishwaraj Bhattacharyya
Former athlete. Now a journalist hoping to cover football no matter the league or country.

Reports have surfaced that Manchester United are interested in signing Nicolo Barella from Serie A side, Cagliari in the coming weeks. The 20-year-old is a regular starter under Luiz Diego Lopez and has registered two goals to his name in 19 appearances for the Red and Blues this season.

Barella is a product of the Cagliari youth setup and has worked his way up to the first team making his debut against Parma on 4 May 2015. He has also been capped at all levels of Italian national team except the senior side with all over 49 games under his belt and is a prime candidate for a call-up in the future.

Originally a central midfielder by trade, Barella’s vital ability to bomb forward with the ball makes him versatile enough to play anywhere in the three behind the striker as well. He may not be the quickest or the strongest, but he has the tenacity to dominate the heart of the park at will. And it can very well be said that young Nicolo Barella is a complete midfielder, who is a jack of almost all the trades, but a master of none.

Manchester United boss, Jose Mourinho has fallen short of the quality of the ‘Noisy Neighbours’ this season and have dropped 15 points behind them in the league. The Portuguese tactician has been crying out for more quality signings to current United squad and has been provided with a war chest ahead of the January transfer window.

However, with the signing of Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba to the side over the past year and a half, is Barella really an ideal target for him?

It is no secret that Mourinho is primarily interested in signing a left-back and a winger as soon as possible. The transfer deal with Inter Milan over their Croatian wide man, Ivan Perisic fell through in the summer and Ashley Young had to be chosen as a makeshift full-back from the left.

Matic is no longer his former self and has fallen way below his own standards. He is no longer the midfield dominating anchor that can stabilise the team consistently throughout the season. Ander Herrera has become a sporadic player under Mourinho with Juan Mata mostly featuring from the right wing.

Now that Sanchez’s multi-million-pound deal is about to be announced will Ed Woodward sanction a move to sign another youngster when they clearly need more defensive restructuring? Maybe a ploy for the future, but Mourinho is not well known in the football world to allow any youngster an opportunity to break through the club ranks. A move might not be in the best interest of the ambitious maestro whose most valuable asset right now is regular game time.

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