After nearly a decade and more of having the best fullbacks in the business – think Dani Alves, Eric Abidal and Jordi Alba - Barcelona are struggling right now. With Jordi Alba spending more time on the hospital bed than his natural habitat of the left flank of la Blaugrana and Lucas Digne failing to impress, left back is a problem area.
But they have an even bigger problem on the other flank. They signed Aleix Vidal from Sevilla to be the heir apparent to Dani Alves, but a series of injuries and a reported falling out with Luis Enrique means that he doesn't even get named in the matchday squad these days – regardless of fitness. Sergi Roberto is a competent fill-in, but fill-in he is, and not due to any fault of his expecting central midfielders to do other roles is the order of the day for Barcelona (hello Javier Mascherano and Yaya Toure) but it is only a matter of time before he gets exposed on the flanks.
Besides, regardless of all that, it is imperative for a club like Barcelona to have strength in depth and they really don't have enough defensive cover.
It makes sense then that they would be interested in Mattia Di Sciglio and reportedly also Ignazio Abate. The club sent top management officials to the San Siro to scout the Milan pair during the weekend's entertaining Derby Della Madonnina.
They would surely have been impressed by what they saw. Di Sciglio and Abate have been in imperious form since Vicenzo Montella took over at the helm - and have displayed the combination of attacking verve and defensive solidity that Barcelona so crave.
Much like the Catalans, the Rossoneri have depended on their fullbacks to spread their play wide – and they would in all aspects be a perfect fit into the Barca system.
De Sciglio, the younger of the two, is the more likely candidate and his current deal expires in 2018; which would make him an ideal buy. Juventus were also keen on the player and in fact had an offer turned for him last January.
Abate, 30, brings experience to the table – and although his crossing hasn't been at its best this season – that may be exactly what the doctor ordered for Barcelona.
Meanwhile, in Serie A, Milan are 3rd on the table, and should have been 2nd if it were not for a late, late, goal from Inter's Ivan Perisic. With the ambition that the Milan club always harbours, it may be hard for Barcelona to convince one of their most prized assets in Di Sciglio, and their captain Abate.
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