Manager of the Italian national side Roberto Mancini has compared Chelsea target Nicolo Barella to World Cup-winning midfielder Marco Tardelli.

The South West London side have reportedly identified the Cagliari midfielder as a replacement for Cesc Fabregas who completed a move to Monaco on Friday.

Who is Chelsea target Nicolò Barella? Five key things to know about the midfielder…

  1. The 21-year-old’s form for Cagliari in the Serie A has earned the favourable comparison to the 1982 World Cup winner Marco Tardelli.
  2. Barella has twice won the award for the best Italian player born in 1997 in both 2012 and 2013.
  3. He has been praised for his vision, stamina and tenacity as well as his ability to play both defensive and attacking roles.
  4. Chelsea will have to meet Cagliari’s £45m valuation to secure his services.
  5. Featuring for Italy at every level from U15 upwards, the midfielder has been capped four times by Mancini.

It was Roberto Mancini that handed Barella his first cap in a friendly against Ukraine in October 2018.

Speaking recently about the midfielder, the former Man City manager said: “I was telling Tardelli at the Coverciano training ground that Barella moves a lot like him. He has technique, quality, rarely loses the ball, is good in the air despite not being tall.”

“Considering his age and the relative lack of Serie A experience, he has a strong grasp on his role already. Barella can set the example for the young Italian players out there who can give a little more to make that step up.”

When pressed about links with Chelsea, Mancini named the one box that must be ticked should he choose to work under Sarri in the Premier League.

Highlighting the need for consistent minutes, Mancini said: “He has enormous potential for growth and if he does leave Cagliari, he must be certain that he gets to play regularly. If he does go to a big club and is a first choice, then he can improve far more.

“However, if he risks spending half the season on the bench, he should stay put.”

Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini understands that his man is the source of heavy interest, but insists he will stay until the end of the season, as reported by Football Italia.

“I believe it’s only right that we enjoy him for as long as he’s here with us.

“If things change then we’ll announce it, but he’s very happy here and the club no intention of selling him.

“Reading that there are many offers for him isn’t right. I hope he stays with us for a long time and certainly, like I’ve already said before, he won’t leave in January.”

Barella has made more tackles (49) than any other U23 midfielder in Serie A this season, suggesting that he may be a better fit to play alongside Jorginho than fill Fabregas’ void and become the Brazilian-born midfielder’s deputy.

In fact, Barella has played on Jorginho’s right – the position Kante is deployed for Chelsea – in three of his four Italy caps.

However, given Mancini’s glowing review of his talent, it seems Barella would be comfortable in both roles should the deal go through.

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