“Nobody has the money to pay for Škriniar. He is priceless. He is staying here, because nobody can afford him.” Those were the words of Inter coach Luciano Spalletti during his post-match press conference following the Nerazzurri’s 6-2 victory over Benevento in the Coppa Italia on Sunday evening. The Slovakian has established himself as one of the best central defenders in world football over the course of the past 18 months. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to learn that he is being targeted by European giants such as Manchester United and Real Madrid.
Indeed, according to the latest reports from Sky Sport transfer market expert Gianluca Di Marzio, Inter have offered the former Sampdoria stopper a new contract in an attempt to ward off interest from elsewhere. By all accounts, his agent reacted positively to the news and is due to meet with CEO sport Beppe Marotta at the beginning of next month to discuss the matter further. While no exact figures were disclosed by Di Marzio, he did make it clear that Inter are determined to keep hold of Škriniar and are therefore prepared to make him one of their highest-paid players in order to do so.
At the moment, Škriniar’s contractual situation is receiving significantly less attention from the media than that of another Inter star, Mauro Icardi. The Argentine’s agent/wife – Wanda Nara – is determined to fire warning shots to the club via her social media platforms and such like, which clearly does not sit well with the Nerazzurri hierarchy. Publicity stunts aside, there is an argument to be made that Škriniar is every bit as important to the team as Icardi, if not more so. There are very few players in the modern era who have mastered the art of defending when faced with one-on-one situations quite as well as he has.
When it is possible to play out from the back, Škriniar has the technique to do so, even under considerable pressure from his opponent. However, when it is clearly not the best thing to do, he is more than happy to kick the ball into touch. That is exactly what every single fan should want to see from their centre-back. At 23 years of age, he does of course still have a lot to learn but there is no doubt he has the potential to one day become the best defender of his kind in the world. He really is that good.
While Inter may already have a ready-made replacement for MI9 in the shape of compatriot Lautaro Martínez, finding someone capable of filling the void left by Škriniar could prove to be a much greater challenge. Marotta and chief sport officer Piero Ausilio will undoubtedly be hoping to get his future sorted out as quickly as possible so that they can continue to build for a brighter future with the heartbeat of Spalletti’s starting XI intact.
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