Barcelona have confirmed their intentions to sign a new defender in January – and one Liverpool star is emerging as a surprise target for the LaLiga champions.
Ernesto Valverde’s side have struggled in the heart of their defence in recent weeks with Samuel Umtiti suffering an, as yet unspecified injury and Thomas Vermaelen also going down for six weeks with a thigh problem.
Summer signing Clement Langlet and the long-serving Gerard Pique remain the only options open to Valverde and now Mundo Deportivo claims Barca will target the capture of a centre half when the winter window opens.
Confirming their intentions to strengthen their defence, president Josep Maria Bartomeu told Marca: “We’ll be on the lookout for a centre-back in the market. It’s bad luck that two of the four we have have gotten injured.
“We have a B team and this could translate into an opportunity for them.
“We’ll have to see what happens.”
Ajax defender Matthijs De Ligt and Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld have both been mentioned as targets, but the Spanish press reckons they could also launch a surprise raid on Liverpool for Dejan Lovren.
The Reds defender has made just two appearances so far this season and has started just one game in the Premier League, with Joe Gomez emerging as the preferred central defensive partner to record signing Virgil van Dijk.
The centre-back was a huge part of the Croatia side which made it to the World Cup final, knocking out England in the semis on the way – with his slow start to the season seemingly down to fatigue from his country’s efforts this summer.
Jurgen Klopp would be loathe to lose the defender, especially with doubts emerging over the fitness of Van Dijk, and will likely advise Liverpool to resist any Barca attemps to lure the former Southampton man.
But a huge offer could convince Klopp to sell with the Reds boss still in the market for a new No 10 to replace Philippe Coutinho, who also joined Barcelona in January. A move for Napoli’s €200m man Lorenzo Insigne was mooted on Monday.
Barcelona, meanwhile, have also been linked with a move for Roberto Firmino after reportedly making the Brazilian their No 1 target for summer 2019.
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