Milan Skriniar has never been too much away from praise. The Slovakian has been the centre of attention from top clubs over the last two years. His defensive prowess deserves all of it and the recent links with Real Madrid would be very welcome.
The Inter man has been immense for the Nerazzurri ever since he came from Sampdoria. So much so that his performances have already dwarfed the €18 million fee that Inter paid in the summer of 2017.
Those abilities are bound to attract interest from a club as big as Real Madrid. Indeed, Skriniar’s agent has recently talked up that potential move.
He said (via Marca): “Skriniar is worth € 100 million. Real Madrid and Barcelona are competing for his signing for the last two years. Now Real Madrid are closer to reaching an agreement with Inter Milan because they want and they need him much more than Barcelona. Real Madrid have to look for alternatives to their center-backs, Ramos and Varane.”
Coming to this season, it hasn’t been the best for Skriniar under Antonio Conte. It has been a different system- very new for the player. He hasn’t played in a 3-5-2 shape before. In the flat back-four under former boss Luciano Spalletti, Skriniar had played in a flat back-four.
They present different circumstances. Skriniar has been playing as the left or the right sided defender at the back for the Nerazzurri. Stefan de Vrij has been the central defender and he has been their best defender.
It has been a period of adaptation for Skriniar. The fact that he is still as young as 24 gives him the right to do that. It is allowing him the period of maturity that a defender like him needs. And should, in itself, make potential suitors happy.
In a way though, it has helped Skriniar play to his strength. His passing abilities on the ball allow Inter to build from the back from whichever side he plays from. This season, he has had a passing accuracy of 94.4 percent (the highest in his career). He has played 66.8 passes per game (second-highest in his career).
His ability to be a cultured defender has shone through, even though he has been caught out by pace sometimes.
Coming to Real though, there is clear intent in a potential deal. Nacho Fernandez, 29, has been dealing with injury issues this season. He is currently dealing with an MCL injury, because of which the Spaniard has played just twice in all competitions for the Los Blancos.
Considering that his future is in jeopardy, Skriniar would be the fourth defender Real would have in the side. Eder Militao has made three appearances so far and is very much in the Sergio Ramos mould. But Real do not really have someone who can swap positions with Varane or play alongside him.
Skirniar, like Varane, is a ball-playing defender. Like Ramos though, he has the leadership and arrogance that sets him apart from others. He is not just good on the ball, but he is very adept at winning it back too.
This season, he has won 1.2 tackles per game and has 1.1 interceptions per game to his name too. Ramos, on the other hand, has won 1.4 tackles per game. He has also made 1.6 interceptions per game. There is very little difference.
And Skriniar is maturing as a player under Conte too. That will help a club like Real, who play regular Champions League football. That warrants depth and quality in depth. Having Skriniar and Eder in that side to tide over the eventual loss of Ramos would be very impressive.