In the midst of all the rumours surrounding Robert Lewandowski’s possible move to Camp Nou, a recent Mundo Deportivo story provided an update on Barcelona’s pursuit of their defensive targets.
While Barcelona is expected to sign Andreas Christensen on a free transfer from Chelsea, it appears Xavi is still looking for another centre-back, since he is concerned about Gerard Pique’s longevity and the department’s general depth.
Xavi wants two players for every position in the team and despite the fact that there are four defenders – Pique, Araujo, Eric, and Christensen, he is still looking to cast some upgrades.
Barcelona will try to sell Umtiti and Lenglet, which will leave the club with no left-footed centre-backs.
Barcelona has been considering two names. Alessio Romagnoli is one of them. Given that his contract expires in the summer, the 27-year-old Milan defender represents a market opportunity. Chelsea and Sevilla are also interested in him.
Lisandro Martinez, an Ajax defender, is another. The 24-year-old has had a fantastic season, but his contract expires in 2025, making it difficult to sign him – they won’t let him leave for less than 25m euros.
Barcelona is also interested in Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta, but what Xavi really wants is a technically gifted central defender.
The Barcelona coach already has two great candidates in mind: Jules Kounde and Kalidou Koulibaly.
The story goes into great detail on the possibility of signing Kounde, implying that the defender could be expensive, with Fabrizio Romano previously revealing a price tag of around €80 million.
However, there appears to be optimism for Barcelona as they have an excellent relationship with Sevilla’s deputy sporting director, Fernando Navarro.
He is open to hearing various economic solutions, with Barcelona expected to attract Sevilla by offering to sign some of their own players in an effort to reduce the overall cost of the operation.
Getting their hands on Kounde, though, could be incredibly difficult, since Chelsea is also in the race and will seek to capture his services after nearly missing out last summer.
Fortunately for Barcelona, they have found a tried-and-true replacement in Koulibaly. With his contract expiring at the end of next season, the Senegalese international could be available for a bargain in the summer.
Napoli are set to meet with Koulibaly soon to finalise plans for his future at the club. They are likely to approve his sale, knowing that it may be their last chance to gain income before the defender leaves for free.