According to a recent report by Italian news source CalcioMercato, reigning Premier League champions Manchester City are being credited with a lingering interest in acquiring the services of Inter Milan’s Slovakian international centre-half Milan Skriniar this summer. The report suggests that the Sky Blues have been on the Inter man’s trail for quite a while now, and Pep Guardiola is now keen to add some defensive reinforcements to the side.
The report suggests that Manchester City’s owners – the Abu Dhabi United Group, will make a new attempt to sign the Slovakian from Inter in the upcoming transfer window. Although their European ban could become a concern for any potential targets, the report clarifies that the Citizens could counter that, and in turn bring the price down, by offering some players in return to Antonio Conte’s side.
It is suggested that the Serie A club probably won’t be tempted to sell unless an offer in the region of €70m-€80m comes in, which does seem unlikely given the current state of the football market.
What Is Manchester City’s Defensive Situation?
The Citizens started the season looking like the same dominant team from the last term when they beat Liverpool in the FA Community Shield. Although the injury to Leroy Sané did become a concern, the defence didn’t look like the biggest worry at that point. A couple of months down the line and Manchester City were suddenly in the worst possible situation. The injury to Aymeric Laporte came as a gutting blow and saying that they never recovered from that this season wouldn’t be overstating things.
In Laporte’s absence, Guardiola resorted to playing Fernandinho in the centre-half role alongside Nicolas Otamendi, thereby highlighting the abysmal touch that former Everton man John Stones has been in over recent months. The Englishman’s life as a Manchester City player has been tough, and it would require a mammoth effort from the player’s part to ever break into the first-team again. Although he could potentially regain his form, waiting for that could end up having disastrous consequences for a massive team like City.
Should Guardiola Look To Sign Skriniar In The Summer?
The Slovakian centre-half has come to be known for his physical prowess and general positioning, which is probably why the Inter Milan man is one of Antonio Conte’s most prized possessions. While that is the case though, it’s worth considering that the Italian tactician is yet to give up the preferred right-sided role to Skriniar. The Slovak’s potential unhappiness at continuously being deployed on the wrong side can end up being telling in this move as well.
In Aymeric Laporte, the Sky Blues arguably boast the best ball-carrying centre-half in European football at the moment, and adding a traditional no-nonsense defender to the same back-line is precisely what this City team needs. The partnership between Aymeric Laporte and Nicolas Otamendi was half-decent indeed, owing to the fact that Otamendi is an orthodox defender whose first instinct is to clear the ball away. Skriniar would be an instant upgrade on Otamendi as the Slovak offers a much more intimidating presence at the back, meaning that this is a deal that Pep Guardiola can probably afford to break the bank for.