Roberto Mancini hands warning to Nicolo Barella

Italy manager Roberto Mancini has handed a warning to Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella amid the ongoing link with Premier League side Chelsea. The 21-year-old has been heavily linked with the Blues since the departure of Cesc Fabregas earlier in the month but Mancini has urged the youngster to think twice before consider a possible departure from the Serie A.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Mancini hailed the qualities of the highly-rated Italian midfielder, who has been building up his reputation with his boyhood club. He added that a move to a big club would undoubtedly suit the midfielder’s progress, although he needs to also worry about the gametime from the starting lineup.

He said: "He has technique, quality, rarely loses the ball, is good in the air despite not being tall, never gives up and tends to push forward, but needs to also score a few more goals. 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. 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."

“Barella has been earmarked as a £40m target for Maurizio Sarri’s team this month but the Premier League giants could face competition from Napoli“. The Blues currently have six midfielders in the form of Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley, and Danny Drinkwater but the latter has already been “deemed surplus to requirements“.

Meanwhile, Sarri has also highlighted that he wants another midfielder with the same passing attributes like Jorginho and this appears the prime reason behind the club’s ongoing pursuit of compatriot Barella. The Italian has made nearly 100 appearances for Cagliari since making his debut during the 2014/15 season. He has earned four caps with the national team.