It looks like Inter Milan are about to complete their first signing of the summer Mercato, as the latest reports suggest that the club is on the verge of acquiring 22-year-old Sampdoria center back, Milan Skriniar.
On Tuesday, Football Italia quoted Sampdoria President Massimo Ferrero saying “It’s done for Skriniar to Inter,” in an interview with Radio Crc, a Naples-based station. Ferrero also mentioned that the Genoese club would acquire young striker Gianluca Caprari as a makeweight in the deal.
Negotiations between Inter and Sampdoria around Skriniar and Caprari have been no secret, with numerous outlets reporting on a potential deal this week. While we don’t know the exact arraignment, rumors indicate that Inter will likely send €14-18m and Caprari to Sampdoria for Skriniar when it’s all said and done.
For proration and FFP purposes, it’s in the best interest of both clubs for the player and cash agreement to be finalized before the 2016/17 financial season ends on Friday. That, along with Ferrero’s candid comments, indicates that a deal is imminent.
In a vacuum, €18m and Caprari may seem like a steep price for Inter to pay; however, it’s important to keep in mind that transfer negotiations in modern football rarely occur in isolation. Manchester United set the market for young, talented center backs this summer when they acquired Victor Lindelof from Benfica for £31m (€35m) on June 15th. With that in mind, the price is certainly reasonable for a promising, young player that saw more Serie A playing-time last season than Geoffrey Kondogbia and Gabriel Barbosa combined.
After quickly outgrowing the Slovak Super Liga, Skriniar signed for Sampdoria in the January 2016 transfer window, where he became an ever-present member of Marco Giampaolo’s Starting XI. The young Slovakian defender made a staggering 35 appearances for Sampdoria this season, an impressive feat for a player of his age, which helped him earned his reputation as one of the best defensive prospects in Italy. Skriniar and Sampdoria finished in 10th place in Serie A, conceding 55 goals — the eight best total in the league.
While Skriniar certainly isn’t the high-profile fullback Interisti crave, nor is he at the level of some of the more-seasoned center backs the club have been linked with in the past, the Slovakian international is a talented young defensive player, and that’s an area where Inter undoubtedly need to improve in next season.
A better option than Gary Medel and Marco Andreolli, Skriniar will provide immediate competition for center backs Jeison Murillo and Miranda (assuming both stay) at the very least, and his high-ceiling potential could see him develop into so much more than that. At 6’2” and 185 lbs., Skriniar would be Inter’s second biggest center back, only behind Andreolli, and as we’ve seen at times with Medel this season, size does matter in defense.
It’s also worth noting that new Inter manager Luciano Spalletti has a solid recent track record of developing young defenders. AS Roma’s Antonio Rudiger was also just 22-years-old in 2016, when Spalletti began his second stint in charge of the Roman club. Like Skriniar, Rudiger was a tall and strong (albeit somewhat raw) defender who showed promise playing for a mid-table team (Stuttgart) in one of Europe’s top leagues (Germany’s Bundesliga). If Spalletti can help Skriniar make similar strides as Rudiger has in the past two seasons, it will be welcome news for all parties involved.
Will Skriniar be a game-changer for Inter in 2017/18? Perhaps not, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a solid contributor when given the chance, and at just 22-years-old he has the potential to develop into an important player for Inter in the future.
Once he officially joins the club, only time will tell if he’s truly up-to-par for the Nerazzurri. The good news is that as long as we remain patient, there’s plenty of time for Skriniar to become the defensive stalwart Inter so desperately need.
How do you feel about the likely Skriniar to Inter deal?
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¯\_(ツ)_/¯ - time will tell.