Barcelona Lose Ground To Real Madrid In Pursuit Of Serie A Defender: What Should Be Valverde’s Play?

Milan Skriniar of Inter Milan reacts during the 2019 International Champions Cup match between Tottenham Hotspur and FC Internazionale at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on August 04, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

In a recent interview mentioned by AS, Inter Milan centre-back Milan Skriniar’s agent Mithat Halis claimed that Real Madrid are beating Barcelona in the race to secure his client’s signature. Halis told AS, ‘Skriniar is worth €100m.

‘Real Madrid and Barcelona are competing for his signing for the last two years. 

‘Now Real Madrid are closer to reaching agreement with Inter Milan because they want and they need him much more than Barcelona.

‘Real Madrid have to look for alternatives to their centre-backs, (Sergio) Ramos and (Raphael) Varane.’

Skriniar’s Brilliant Contributions In The Italian Top-Flight This Season

Skriniar has managed to establish himself as a regular feature in Antonio Conte’s starting XI at the San Siro. The Slovak defensive ace is currently among the best defenders in Italian football after he put in a run of solid defensive performances in the Serie A. He has played in 16 matches for the Italian outfit this term and has one assist to his name on all fronts.

The 24-year-old has enjoyed an incredible run of form for Inter in the UEFA Champions League group-stages. At the moment, Skriniar is averaging 2.8 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and 3.0 clearances per match in Europe so far (stats via whoscored).

However, those numbers take a slight dip when the Slovak centre-half is playing in the Italian first division, as he has only averaged 1.2 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 3.1 clearances per game in the league (stats via whoscored). He has represented Slovakia in 23 international matches but is yet to register his first goal for his nation.

What Does The Slovak International Offer On The Pitch?

Skriniar is a moderately paced centre-half who can make some vital recovering interceptions for his team. He is good at reading the danger when left in a 1v1 scenario with the opposition inside his own half. Furthermore, his defensive awareness is second to none in the Italian top-flight. 

What Should Be Valverde’s Play Here?

Barcelona could benefit from recruiting a new defender as they have been conceding some cheap goals at the back this season. Clement Lenglet has looked a bit shaky in defence while Gerard Pique is on the wrong side of his 30s. To add even more misery, Samuel Umtiti has struggled to get enough game time in this calendar year as he has been plagued with injuries.

Valverde also has Jean-Clair Todibo in his squad, but one can argue whether he is too inexperienced to play for the Catalans every week. Hence, they need to bring in a fresh face in defence who can come in and stop leaking goals at the back. Skriniar will be a great addition to the Barca backline so Valverde should try and do everything in his power to sign him next summer.

A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.