Milan Skriniar is proving to be one of the world’s top central defenders at the age of 24 and as such, the best clubs are vying for his signature.
After series of top performances dating from last season, It’s no surprise the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid are interested in his services and it would be wise for Inter and Conte to brace themselves for the possible eventuality of his departure.
This season, he has continued to show his class as his Inter team currently mount a title challenge against the dominant Juventus in Serie A. Along with a three-man defensive combination that includes Stephan De Vrij and Diego Godin, they boast the joint third best defence in the league with 12 goals conceded (Skysports).
This season, Skriniar has excelled on the left side of Inter’s back three and has also shown his ability on the ball in that role. His ability on the ball further proves why the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid are reportedly looking to purchase him.
A good club will always know how to prepare for eventualities whether they happen or not, and this is what Inter are doing. Caliciomercato recently reported that Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen has been targeted by the Nerazzurri as Skriniar’s replacement.
The Belgium international has been rumoured to want an exit from Spurs and a move to Inter might be on the cards should Inter lose Skriniar next summer.
With the arrival of proven winner Jose Mourinho, there might be a chance Vertonghen might stay at Tottenham although that depends totally on him. If not, Vertonghen, 33, will see a move to Inter as his final chance to compete for silverware at the highest level given his age.
What will Vertonghen bring to Inter?
As per Transfermarkt, his contract expires in the summer of 2020 meaning he will come in for free should Inter go on to move for him. Considering his quality and experience, that will be a major steal for Inter and Conte.
Vertonghen is a defender of high calibre and has been a key figure in Mauricio Pochettino’s impressive while he was the coach at Tottenham.
He will also slot comfortably into Conte’s team. Being a student of Ajax, he is well adept at playing out of the back and the fact that he is a left-footed defender helps his cause as Skriniar, who is right-footed, plays on the left side of the back three and struggles on some occasions to that effect.
Also a ball-playing defender, Vertonghen has managed 65.3 passes and an accuracy of 90.6% this season (Whoscored), just slightly lesser than that of Skriniar at 66.8 passes with a 94.4% accuracy (Whoscored).
With protection coming from De Vrij, his lack of pace will rarely be exposed in a back three with sufficient cover coming from the Dutchman.
Mauricio Pochettino played different formations during his time at Tottenham, one which included a three-man-defence which Vertonghen featured in which means he will be no stranger to playing in a back three or five, making Conte’s job easier.
Although injury has limited the Belgian centre-back to just six league appearances this season, he has averaged 1.5 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and 3.5 clearances per 90 minutes (Whoscored) which is more than that of Skriniar at 1.2 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 3.1 clearances (Whoscored).
At 6″2, Vertonghen would also be an asset for defending set-pieces and is also good in the air for offensive situations.