Arsenal have reportedly joined Manchester United and Liverpool in a ‘battle’ for £31m-rated ‘wonderkid’, Nicolo Barella.

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The 21-year-old central midfielder currently plays for Cagliari in Serie A and is under contract until 2022.

Barella signed when he was just a kid, making his way through the youth ranks before a short loan spell with Como in the second half of the 15/16 season.

nicolo barella
CHORZOW, POLAND – OCTOBER 14: Nicolo Barella of Italy in action during the UEFA Nations League A group three match between Poland and Italy at Silesian Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Chorzow, Poland. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

He only has one goal in nine appearances this season, and during the last campaign he netted six in 35, so he isn’t setting any goalscoring records alight, but that isn’t really what he is in the side to do.

An expert from range and with direct free-kicks, four of his 11 career goals have been penalties, while two have come from a direct freekick.

Away from his dead ball ability, his overall finishing is relatively poor but that’s something he can improve. Concentration, an issue for so many Arsenal players, is not something Barella struggles with, and his tackling in the centre of the park is very good.

With the new regime in place at Arsenal, it’s hard to know what to expect from any transfer window, making it tough to rule rumours in and out.

Latest Arsenal transfer news here

The initial report on this story is very light on details but it might just be a story worth keeping an eye on as Arsenal work out how best to replace Aaron Ramsey.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.