Barcelona are reportedly in pole position to sign 26-year-old Italian international Alessio Romagnoli, either in January or next summer.

According to a report by Catalan outlet El Nacional, Barcelona are the front-runners to secure the services of Alessio Romagnoli. The 26-year-old AC Milan defender is also being courted by former club AS Roma and could move on a cut-price transfer in the January transfer window.

Alessio Romagnoli joined AC Milan from AS Roma in August 2015 and has since transformed into one of the best defenders in Serie A. The Rossoneri’s club captain, Romagnoli, played a key role in the Italian giants’ recent resurgence, as they seem to have established themselves as Champions League regulars.

To date, Romagnoli has turned out 232 times for Milan, chipping in with nine goals and two assists in the process. However, the 26-year-old has question marks surrounding his future at San Siro, having lost his place as a regular following the arrival of Fikayo Tomori. In addition, with his deal winding down, he could become a free agent next summer. Such a situation has alerted Barcelona.

The interest from Barcelona is hardly surprising despite the arrival of Eric Garcia in the summer transfer window. That is because Samuel Umtiti is at an all-time low in his stint with the Catalan giants, who have deemed him surplus to requirements. Recent reports have suggested that Umtiti is a January target for Benfica.

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In addition to Umtiti, Clement Lenglet has suffered a staggering dip in fortunes in the past year, while Gerard Pique is in the twilight of his career. That leaves Garcia, Ronald Araujo and Oscar Mingueza as the only recognised centre-backs at Xavi’s disposal, which is why Barcelona’s desire to bolster the heart of their defence makes sense.

To that end, Romagnoli has emerged as one of the options on Barcelona’s radar, with the Italian international also an option for AS Roma. However, the interest from Barcelona has turned the 26-year-old’s head, and he could opt to make the switch to Camp Nou.

However, it is still unclear if Barcelona will launch the offensive for Romagnoli in January or wait till next summer to sign him on a Bosman move. So, it remains to be seen when the Catalan giants decide to sign the player from San Siro, having taken the lead in the race to secure his services.

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