The Italian could be the player to help Arsenal claim the Premier League title.
Arsenal seem to have rediscovered their mojo in recent weeks, with the attacking flair of last season starting to return to compliment their newfound solidity in midfield and defence.
In that sense, their Premier League game against Luton Town was an anomaly, and while conceding three goals is far from ideal, Declan Rice’s last-second winner demonstrated once again that Mikel Arteta’s men do not know when to quit.
Rice’s header came via a fantastic cross from the left boot of captain fantastic himself, Martin Odegaard. The Norwegian, like the rest of his team, is starting to reach his level from last season and has been one of the best players in recent weeks.
Arsenal’s £280k-p/w star dropped a “monster performance” vs Luton
Declan Rice stole the show with a late winning goal but another Arsenal star deserves equal praise.
With that in mind, Gooners should be excited with recent rumours that have seen them linked to a player who has been likened to the former Real Madrid man, Nicolo Barella.
Arsenal transfer news – Nicolo Barella
According to David Ornstein of The Athletic, Arsenal would ‘like to add a midfielder’ to the team in 2024, and, while there are several potential names on their list, he names Inter Milan’s Nicolo Barella as one of the players that the club ‘like.’
There has been little mention of how much a move for the Italian would cost in recent weeks, but when Liverpool were heavily linked with him earlier this year, it was reported that Inter valued him at around £69m.
The former Cagliari midfielder is contracted to the San Siro side until summer 2026, so it is unlikely that the asking price will have come down much, if at all, since the summer.
However, with the 26-year-old “warrior”, as described by Antonio Conte, being as highly rated as he is, it would likely be a deal worth pursuing.
Even more so considering his likeness to the Arsenal captain.
Nicolo Barella could complement Martin Odegaard
The Premier League is stacked with fantastic midfielders these days; in fact, almost every team in the competition has at least one midfield player who can be a genuine game-changer.
Regardless of who you might rank as the number one, there can be no debate that Odegaard is right up there with the best. So it is a pretty good indication of Barella’s quality to see that FBref has the Norwegian down as the second most similar player to him in Europe’s top five leagues.
These similarities become quite apparent when looking at their underlying numbers.
|Nicolo Barella & Martin Odegaard
|Stats (per 90)
|Non-Penalty Expected Goals + Assists
|Attempted Take-Ons (Successes)
|All Stats via FBref for 2023/24 Domestic Season
In terms of their creative output, there really is not an awful lot to separate them, with the most significant discrepancy coming in their progressive passing numbers, where the “top-class” midfielder, as described by Jürgen Klopp, outshines his potential new captain.
Usually, there would be some concern over how defensively solid a team would be with both players starting in midfield, but with the indomitable Rice behind them and William Saliba and Gabriel behind him, Arsenal could allow the two magicians to totally dictate games from the centre of the park.
Ultimately, it would be a pricey deal to complete, but with just how much it would improve the team’s attacking output, it would warrant the initial outlay.
Arteta could then have his next version of Odegaard playing alongside his current one as part of an impressive and creative Arsenal midfield.