Barcelona reportedly proposed a player swap to Inter Milan, with the deal involving Milan Skriniar and Philippe Coutinho.

According to a report by Catalan outlet El Nacional, Barcelona looked to take advantage of Inter Milan’s interest in Philippe Coutinho by offering a swap deal involving 26-year-old defender Milan Skriniar. However, the Serie A champions have rejected such a proposal.

Milan Skriniar has established himself as one of the best defenders in Serie A since joining Inter Milan from Sampdoria in July 2017. Over the last four and a half years, the Slovakian international has played a leading role in the Nerazzurri’s evolution into a dominant force in the Italian top-flight, culminating with their Serie A title triumph last season.

To date, the 26-year-old has made 189 appearances for Inter Milan, chipping in with ten goals and four assists in the process. Skriniar’s progress has not gone unnoticed, with some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including Barcelona, setting their sights on him.

The interest from Barcelona is understandable, considering Eric Garcia has failed to impress since arriving on a Bosman move this past summer. To make matters, Gerard Pique continues to show signs of age catching up to him, and he is clearly in the twilight of his career.

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In addition, Samuel Umtiti has been deemed surplus to requirements, while Clement Lenglet’s stock has taken a nosedive in the past year. So, it behoves Barcelona to invest in a top-class centre-back who can tighten things at the back. To that end, the Catalan giants have been linked with several central defenders, including Marc Bartra, with Skriniar also a viable target.

However, with their finances not in the pink of health, Barcelona looked to engineer a swap deal to sign the 26-year-old defender, with Philippe Coutinho joining Inter Milan. The Serie A champions have been heavily linked with the Brazilian playmaker, but the Nerazzurri will not sign him on a player-exchange package.

The Italian giants have no intention of selling a key player like Skriniar. At the same time, the 26-year-old valuation far exceeds Coutinho’s, meaning a swap deal was never going to see the light of the day. So, Barcelona might need to set their sights on another defender, and it remains to be seen who joins them to bolster their backline.

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