Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are among a host of clubs vying to sign AC Milan defender Alessio Romagnoli when his contract expires in the summer of 2022.
According to a report from Spanish publication Fichajes, Barcelona are set to battle it out with Atletico Madrid for the signing of AC Milan centre-back Alessio Romagnoli, who is also on the radars of Juventus and Lazio.
Romagnoli has been with Milan since 2015 when he joined from AS Roma and went on to establish himself as one of the most reliable centre-backs in Serie A, rising to the position of the club captain for the Rossoneri. However, since the turn of the year, the 26-year-old has found game-time hard to come by.
Indeed, Stefano Pioli has preferred the pairing of Fikayo Tomori and Simon Kjaer at the heart of the Milan defence, but Romagnoli did get some game-time this season as there were some injury problems. To date, the Italian has racked up 227 appearances for the Serie A bigwigs, bagging nine goals and two assists.
However, Romagnoli’s reduced game-time coupled with his contract situation has led to intense speculation about his future. The 26-year-old has entered the final year of his contract with Milan and talks of a renewal have not gone according to plans. A number of clubs have, thus, taken an interest in his situation, including Barcelona.
The Catalan giants reinforced their defence with the signing of Eric Garcia this summer, but the move has not worked well so far as the youngster has struggled early in the season. With Gerard Pique in the final phase of his career, and both Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet seemingly out of favour, adding another centre-back would make sense for the club.
Romagnoli, to that end, can be a handy option for the Blaugrana. At 26, he is entering the prime years of his career while he also has a lot of experience at the highest level. In addition to that, he is a left-footed centre-back, and would add some variation to their options at the back, especially with Umtiti likely to be sold in the near future.
What makes him an even more attractive prospect is that Romagnoli would be available on a free transfer. Given Barcelona’s current financial predicament, signing a defender of his quality for no transfer fee would be a boost. However, they will have to face competition from La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.
The Rojiblancos have four options in defence in the form of Stefan Savic, Jose Maria Gimenez, Felipe and Mario Hermoso, but could use with another option considering that Diego Simeone has opted to use a three-man defensive line on a regular basis over the past year, thus, making Romagnoli a viable target for Atleti.
Apart from the two La Liga bigwigs, both Juventus and Lazio are also keen on securing a Bosman move for the 26-year-old next summer and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top in the race to sign Romagnoli.