Nicolò Barella is showing he can lead Inter to the next level

Nicolò Barella is looking like a devastating player for Inter again which will be key to any success the Nerazzurri have this season.


With six goals and five assists from 16 appearances in all competitions, Nicolò Barella is already enjoying the most prolific season in his career.

In fact, the only time the Italian midfielder had managed to reach such a tally in a single season came when he still played for Cagliari, as he finished the 2017-18 Serie A campaign with six goals in 36 games.

Barella’s unfulfilled potential

However, as much as his penchant for scoring goals was already there when Inter decided to pay his €45 million price tag, it is undeniable that the 25-year-old hasn’t improved in that area as much as he has done with other sides of his play since arriving at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

Nicolo Barella gets his shot off against Sampdoria. (@Inter_en)

More precisely, despite always bagging at least three goals in a single season, Barella constantly gave the impression that he was underperforming in terms of attacking prowess, as his precise and powerful shot, alongside his ability to find space around and inside the opponent’s box should have allowed him to trouble goalkeepers more often than he did.

Following Antonio Conte‘s departure, the arrival of Simone Inzaghi offered a tactical freedom that the players could enjoy. That made many people believe that Barella could be amongst those able to thrive the most under the former Lazio coach.

A complete midfielder

Inter’s 3-0 win over Sampdoria was just further proof of how the whole team can benefit from the evolution of their already most complete midfielder.

The Nerazzurri’s number 23 hasn’t simply switched from a defensive into an offensive player – instead, he’s retained his impressive work rate and tireless running, but he finally seems to be able to exploit his skills in a more functional and intelligent way.

While the Nerazzurri have heavily relied on his link-up with Denzel Dumfries, or Achraf Hakimi during Antonio Conte’s tenure, Barella now has a wider array of choices.

That includes him carrying the ball from the right half-space, which he usually occupies, to other areas of the pitch in order to generate space for teammates, suddenly switching the play with precise cross-field passes, or threatening the opponents’ box with his lethal offensive runs.

Adding all of this to his game, the Italian has become far more unpredictable, as he can silently escape his marker, fill the spaces he finds in the box when his team attacks in numbers, or help lead a counter-attack by running forward in order to meet a long ball.

A key to Inter’s growth

Barella’s third goal in his last three Serie A matches also meant he’s now had a hand in nine out of 25 league goals scored by Inter, not to mention all those occasions that saw him involved in the build up. His performances are closely linked with the team’s level of play and when he shines he often helps his whole side raise the bar.

The Italy international only recorded two assists during last season’s seven-game streak that saw a poor Inter side pick up as few as seven points, a dip in form which ended up costing them the Serie A title.

If Nicolò Barella can maintain or even improve his current level, then he’s set to lead his team to important things, as long as he’s in the shadow of the Madonnina.


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