Report: Manchester United, Barcelona Milan Skriniar Interest Concerning Inter

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2018

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 06: Milan Skriniar of FC Internazionale gestures during the Group B match of the UEFA Champions League between FC Internazionale and FC Barcelona at San Siro Stadium on November 6, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Interest in Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar from Barcelona and Manchester United is reportedly causing "constant sirens" at the Serie A club.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Tom Coast of Sport Witness), United and Barca both remain keen on the centre-back, who has continued his excellent development in the top flight.

Inter, while hoping to tie down Skriniar to a new deal, are also said to be putting contingency plans in place for when he does move on, with Sampdoria defender Joachim Andersen's future "clearly linked" with their current centre-back, according to Gazzetta.

United are said to have made a €60 million (£53 million) bid for Skriniar in the summer, although that was turned down by the Milan giants. Coast added that any successful offer may now have to be in excess of the world-record amount for a defender (£75 million) Liverpool paid to land Virgil van Dijk.

Skriniar has been making stellar progress since arriving in Italy with Sampdoria in 2016 and is now among the best defenders in European football. As such, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Inter dig their heels in and resist any approach for the player.

Bleacher Report's Rob Blanchette commented on how well Skriniar played in the recent meeting between Inter and Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League:

Rob Blanchette @_Rob_B

If #MUFC want a new centre-back they should go after Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar. I covered Inter v Barca last night and he was sensational. Forget Maguire at £60m. Bid £80m for Skriniar before he signs a new deal at the San Siro. He’s going to be utterly world class.

It's those types of performances that will catch the eye of European football's elite clubs, as Skriniar has all the attributes needed to go to the top.

Since arriving at Inter, he hasn't looked daunted by playing for one of Italy's historic clubs, and he is proving himself as a leader whenever he steps out on to the pitch.

Skriniar is razor-sharp in his defensive duties. He is rarely caught out in terms of positioning, and when he does need to make a tackle or dart in for an interception, he does so with a sense of authority.

He rarely panics on the ball, too:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Milan Skriniar: Only Marlon Santos (95.2%) has a better pass success rate than Skriniar (93.2%) of defenders in Serie A this season For more player stats -- https://t.co/wqlGv4qraK https://t.co/JcQXZS8Dxv

Barcelona do have stronger options at the back than United, with the pairing of Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti still effective despite the former's erratic recent form. Clement Lenglet also arrived for big money in the summer window.

United would arguably be the bigger beneficiaries of this kind of transfer, as they've struggled for cohesion in defence this season under manager Jose Mourinho.

Rob Dawson of ESPN FC put their recent issues into some context:

Rob Dawson @RobDawsonESPN

United shipping goals early and often. Makes for good comebacks but not a viable tactic going forward. First time they've conceded more than 20 goals in their first 12 games of a top-flight season since 1966.

Skriniar arriving wouldn't be an instant antidote to those woes, although it's been clear this season the Red Devils lack a leading centre-back at the base of their team. Mourinho appears to have settled on Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof for now, although both still have question marks over them.

If they were able to get Skriniar in the next couple of windows, it would be an expensive transfer but no doubt a step in the right direction. The 23-year-old is the type of defender the Red Devils would be able to build their defence around for a long time to come.