Arch-rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid are reportedly set to battle it out for the signature of Inter Milan centre-back Milan Skriniar.
As per a report from Italian publication Corriere dello Sport, Barcelona and Real Madrid will go head to head in the transfer market in the summer window as they both chase the signing of Inter Milan superstar Milan Skriniar.
Skriniar has grown into one of the most coveted defenders across Europe in the last couple of years, since arriving at Inter Milan from fellow Serie A outfit Sampdoria. The 24-year-old has racked up 102 appearances for the Nerazzurri, 16 of which have come in the ongoing season, netting 4 goals and setting up 3 more.
Skriniar’s rise to the top since joining Inter hasn’t gone unnoticed with many a top club taking an interest in the Slovakian centre-half. There had been numerous reports of Manchester United wanting to sign him over the past year, while other clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool also had been credited with some interest.
However, Skriniar’s agent had specifically name-dropped Barcelona and Real Madrid as two clubs that were chasing his signature ahead of last summer’s window. While nothing materialised on that front back then, the latest reports from Italy claim that the La Liga heavyweights are set to renew their interest in the 24-year-old and battle for his signing in next summer.
Barcelona have had defensive problems in abundance this season with Gerard Pique showing signs of slowing down, while Clement Lenglet hasn’t always been secure enough. Samuel Umtiti has had to battle injury problems again, making him less reliable, so it makes sense that the Catalans would want to bring in a top-quality centre-back to reinforce their backline.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, signed a defensive reinforcement in the form of Eder Militao last summer, but the Brazilian has failed to live up to the billing in his short tenure in the Spanish capital. With Raphael Varane and captain Sergio Ramos the only other centre-back options at Zinedine Zidane’s disposal, Los Blancos would want to add another quality defender to their ranks.
And Skriniar fits the bill perfectly for both Barcelona and Real Madrid. Aged 24, the Slovak is one of the best defenders in Serie A and will only continue to improve from hereon, with his best years still well ahead of him. However, the fact that he signed a new four-year contract with Inter earlier this year complicates matters for the Spanish giants.
Inter have reportedly rejected offers around the €60 million mark for Skriniar before and with there being no release clause in his new contract, they are likely to demand a hefty transfer fee if Barcelona and Real Madrid are serious about signing the 24-year-old. It will be interesting to see if the two arch-rivals will battle off the field for the defender’s signature come summer.