Tottenham have joined Liverpool in the £45m race for Cagliari starlet Nicolò Barella, although Inter remain firm favourites to sign the 21-year-old midfielder.
Barella has been a standout performer in his breakthrough season for the 16th-placed Serie A side with six goals and one assist in 33 league starts. His form hasn't gone unnoticed and a number of clubs have been linked with a move for the Italian youth international, including Juventus and Liverpool.
Calciomercato report that Tottenham are interested in the youngster, but Cagliari's president, Tommaso Giulini revealed in April that the club value Barella, who recently signed a one-year contract extension, at upwards of €50m.
"I've read everything about his renewal, but we didn't do it to raise his price," he told Rai Radio (via TalkSPORT)
"Nicolo deserved a better salary and an extra year on his contract. We want to grow, improve and do everything to keep Nicolo another season. Of course, if there were offers that we couldn't refuse, upwards of €50m [£44m], then we could discuss it. We'd take the €50m [£44m] and strengthen the team."
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino's recent comments regarding his and the club's future have sounded a warning to club bosses - particularly Daniel Levy - that they risk losing him if the north London side continue to lag behind their rivals in the transfer market.
The capture of Barella could be the statement of intent needed to persuade the Argentine into remaining with the club, but, according to the report, the player would prefer a move to Inter.
The 21-year-old is said to be at the top of Luciano Spalletti's summer wish list, and I Nerazzurri are ready to offer Cagliari a player plus cash swap deal in order to remain within FFP regulations.