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Milan reportedly interested in São Paulo defender Rodrigo Caio

25 year-old central defender could be an alternative to European-based players that Milan have been linked with

Sao Paulo v Cruzeiro - Brasileirao Series A 2017 Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images

AC Milan are in a bit of an injury crisis at the moment. Besides the thin back line, that forced Cristian Zapata into the lineup last weekend against Juventus, Milan have injuries to multiple midfielders and have even played at least one match without a recognized striker up front.

It’s now being reported in a couple different places that Milan have stepped up interest in Brazilian defender Rodrigo Caio, who currently plays for São Paulo in the Série A in Brazil.

The 25 year-old central defender has made over a 170 appearances for São Paulo in all competitions since breaking into the first team in 2011. He’s also made four appearances for the Brazil national team. His most recent 90 minute appearance for the national team was in a 4-0 victory over Australia in 2017, and he’s been on the bench once this year for a friendly against Germany after appearing for one minute in a World Cup qualifier last year against Colombia.

He’s scored only five goals in all those appearances for São Paulo, but let’s be honest, if you’re looking at your central defenders for goals, your team has problems. A defender who is on the fringe of the Brazil national team could potentially be a good purchase for Milan, given the uncertainty surrounding the fitness of both Mattia Caldara and Mateo Musacchio. Caldara has only appeared once for Milan this season, and is expected to miss more time. While he might be fit after the start of the year, he’s still not even started training yet and might still be months away from featuring for the club.

Leonardo seems to have a good relationship with some of the clubs in Brazil, as he has already made an agreement for Lucas Paqueta with Flamengo, and there have been plenty of Brazilian defenders who have worked out pretty well for Milan in the past. Caio has experience and will come at a significantly reduced price compared to some of the European based names currently being mentioned, like Manchester United’s Eric Bailly.

A potential loan deal with an option to buy might be the best for all parties, with both the player and Milan not sure of how Caio would adjust to Serie A. Milan need some reinforcements in the January transfer window, and this move would make sense for everyone involved.