On the radar

Ni­colo BARELLA (Cagliari)

World Soccer - - Contents -

“I had an As­ton Martin, the big house, any­thing a per­son could want – but you can’t help what’s in the brain” For­mer Wales mid­fielder David Cot­ter­ill on his bat­tle against de­pres­sion

In need of all the young tal­ent he can lay his hands on af­ter the Az­zuri’s fail­ure to qual­ify for this sum­mer’s World Cup, new Italy coach Roberto Mancini has sin­gled out the box-to-box mid­fielder as one of his build­ing blocks for the fu­ture.

Sar­dinian born and bred, the 21-year-old was called up for the re­cent na­tional squad and has looked the part in the last cou­ple of Serie A sea­sons, win­ning ad­mir­ing glances with his fe­ro­cious tack­ling, ex­cel­lent range of pass and pow­er­ful shot from dis­tance.

Last sea­son he be­came Cagliari’s youngest-ever cap­tain – at 20 years, 10 months and nine days – and ac­cord­ing to the ru­mour mill a num­ber of lead­ing Ital­ian and English sides are hot on his trail, with In­ter­nazionale and Ju­ven­tus thought to head the queue to bring him on board.

His one ma­jor fault is a lack of self­con­trol and he picked up 13 yel­low cards and one red card last term, the worst in­di­vid­ual rap sheet in the top flight.

“Go­ing in for tack­les is the way I’m made, though I do have to im­prove those num­bers,” he ad­mits. “I can’t af­ford a yel­low card ev­ery game.”

Lu­cas PAQUETA (Fla­mengo)

The 21-year-old at­tack­ing mid­fielder made his de­but in Brazil’s re­cent friendly against the USA and is be­ing tracked by a num­ber of lead­ing Eu­ro­pean clubs.

Arne MAIER (Hertha Ber­lin)

The 19-year-old Ger­many un­der-21 mid­fielder is al­ready a reg­u­lar for Hertha, who be­gan the sea­son in im­pres­sive style.

Ous­mane DEM­BELE (Barcelona)

The French young­ster, whose first sea­son at Barca was blighted by in­jury, has made a fine start to the new cam­paign. He has scored some im­pres­sive goals, in­clud­ing a spec­tac­u­lar long-range shot in the Cham­pi­ons League against Roma.

Hatem BEN ARFA (Rennes)

Af­ter 17 months on the side­lines, the for­mer Paris Saint-Ger­main ex­ile scored an in­jury-time win­ner on his de­but against Jablonec in the Europa League.

Le­an­dro TROSSARD (Genk)

The left winger earned his first call-up to the Bel­gium squad af­ter an en­er­getic start to the new cam­paign saw him pile up the goals and as­sists for his club.

GERVINHO (Parma)

The Ivory Coast for­ward, who is now back in Europe with Parma, scored an out­ra­geous goal for his new club against Cagliari, run­ning al­most the en­tire length of the pitch be­fore fir­ing home.

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