Since arriving from AC Milan on a season-long loan deal, Matteo Gabbia has had an indifferent start to life at Villarreal. The Italian defender has featured 11 times for the Yellow Submarine so far this campaign, although he has failed to make a significant impact.
Since Marcelino Garcia Toral returned to Villarreal in November, Gabbia has played just 45 minutes (vs Maccabi Haifa). He was injured for matches against Zamora and Osasuna, but appeared as a half time substitute against the Israelis in the Europa League, before failing to feature against Sevilla last weekend.
Gabbia is contracted at Villarreal until the end of the season, but according to reports in Spain and Italy (as cited by Football Italia), he could be set for a return to Milan in January. It comes amid a centre-back injury crisis for the Italian giants, who have Pierre Kalulu, Simon Kjaer, Mattia Caldara, Malick Thiaw all unavailable at the moment.
Gabbia would not be a massive miss for Villarreal if he were to return to Milan during the winter, but if he does go, a replacement would be required. Marcelino’s centre-back options already leave much to be desired, so whoever were to come in would have to be of the required standard.