Manchester City have identified the impressive Inter defender Milan Škriniar as their next recruit for the centre of defence, Italian source calciomercato.com reports.
— calciomercato.com (@cmdotcom) December 11, 2017
The 22-year-old Slovakian international has been a revelation for the Nerazzurri since his €25million move from Sampdoria in the summer, emerging as arguably the finest defender in Serie A.
His performances have not gone unnoticed, with Barcelona among those known to be watching him. Manchester City can now be added to that list after reports today stated that Pep Guardiola sent his scouts to Italy to closely watch Škriniar.
The reports were positive and calciomercato.com claims that the former MŠK Žilina centre-back is now a ‘concrete target’ for City in 2018.
City’s situation is quite clear – behind John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, there are no credible alternatives at centre-back. Vincent Kompany, who broke down again in the Manchester derby, cannot be relied on to stay fit, while Eliaquim Mangala, despite his stellar performance off the bench against United, has never really convinced Guardiola.
Another talent Škriniar has is his ability to play as a holding midfielder, which could also allow him to step in for Fernandinho, the overworked Brazilian who Guardiola is relying on heavily having decided not to use Yaya Touré much this season.
Škriniar would not come cheap and Inter may consider him unsellable in January with Luciano Spalletti’s unbeaten side currently top of Serie A ahead of Napoli and Juventus. It would certainly take an offer of over €50million to make Inter think twice, and City are reportedly willing to pay more than that to sign the young defender.
Stylistically, Škriniar is a near perfect fit for Manchester City. Tall, strong and athletic, he is superb with the ball at his feet and has a 91.6% pass accuracy in Serie A this season. That is marginally higher than Otamendi and lower than Stones, who is the most accurate ball-playing defender in Europe.
Škriniar is the not the first central defender linked with a move to the Etihad in recent week, with reports of a renewed attempt to sign West Brom captain Jonny Evans surfacing, and the name of Real Sociedad defender Iñigo Martínez appearing in gossip columns again.
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