Barcelona have now set their sights on AC Milan and Italian defender Mattia Di Sciglio in their hunt for a fullback to replace the legendary Dani Alves.
Dani Alves’ departure has left a large void in the Barcelona back line and it is one that is proving difficult to fill. After it was reported that Dani Alves would be leaving for Juventus, the Blaugrana have been linked with a host of fullbacks, including Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin and Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta. They have also been vying with Arsenal for Napoli’s Elseid Hysaj and Atletico Mineiro’s Douglas Santos.
Since then, Hector Bellerin has pledged his immediate future to the Gunners, Hysaj was rumoured to be in line for a contract extension with Napoli and incoming Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has reportedly assured Azpilicueta of a future at Stamford Bridge. In light of this, Barcelona has now turned their attention to AC Milan’s Mattia Di Sciglio. A report in Football Italia says that Barcelona is interested in acquiring his services after considering him to be one of the most ‘complete’ amongst a list of shortlisted players which include the likes of Manchester United’s Matteo Darmian and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Fabian Johnson.
At only 23, the Italian is primarily a right sided full-back, but he can play on the left with equal ease and is considered to be proficient in attack and “difficult to beat on one-on-ones”. The report claims that this would help Barcelona provide some rest and competition to Jordi Alba while at the same time fill in the gap left by the departures of Adriano and Aleix Vidal.
His performances for the Rossoneri have led many pundits to call him the heir to Paolo Maldini and his style of play has also drawn comparisons with AC Milan legend Mauro Tassotti. The Milan born Di Sciglio has gone from strength to strength since making his debut in 2011. Fast, strong and blessed with extremely good technique, he has been one of the few shining lights in yet another disappointing season for Milan. It is highly unlikely that the Italian giants will be willing to part with such an exciting talent but they were reported to be interested in Barcelona’s Aleix Vidal and the Catalan giants may be able to negotiate a swap for the players.