The Italy international midfielder has since made the move to the Serie A leaders but has confirmed that there were “concrete” talks with the Blues
Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella has revealed that he came close to joining Chelsea in January 2019.
The Italy international, who was at Cagliari at the time, has confirmed that he was in talks with the Blues – with Goal having initially revealed the west London club’s interest on January 7.
He ultimately ended up staying with Cagliari before making the switch to Antonio Conte’s Inter in the summer on an initial loan deal with an obligation to buy.
He could well have been turning out at Stamford Bridge under Frank Lampard, however, as he confirmed to Gazzetta dello Sport that discussions over a move were taking place.
The 22-year-old said: “Chelsea had been looking to sign me in January, the negotiations were concrete. At Cagliari I said: ‘it is not an easy time for the team, I will stay until the end of the season. Then I will make a decision’.”
Barella has emerged as an important member of Conte’s first-team squad at Inter, making 13 appearances and scoring three goals, as well claiming two assists.
And the Italian has revealed that he would “die” for his manager, expressing how his extrovert character is having a positive impact on his players.
He added: “He [Conte] has a different attitude, a way of talking to you that gives you something new. I’d die for him, that applies to all his players. And that makes the difference.
“Do you see how Conte’s teams run? It’s not only because they are well prepared. It is the outcome of what he puts in your head.
“Years ago I wrote all my goals down. The first was to get to Serie A with Cagliari: I succeeded. Then there was also the one to wear the Inter shirt: done.”
Barella’s Inter are currently two points clear of Juventus at the top of the table in Italy’s top flight, with both sides going head-to-head in Sunday’s meeting at San Siro.
And the midfielder believes that Conte’s side are now on par with their rivals, despite Juve having won the last eight Serie A titles in a row. He said: “Are we on par [with Juventus]? Yes.
“Juve has more than just experience, they have known each other for the longest time as a group. But the coach [Conte] immediately told us the clear things he wanted and we are putting them into practice, that’s why I say that we’re on par.
“Juve won the championship with a 21-point advantage last year: we want to cut the gap, we will see if we succeed.”
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