Barcelona considering bids for Arsenal and Tottenham centre-backs.
Barcelona are considering bidding for Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny or Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen in a bid to improve their defensive displays next season.
Tito Vilanova’s side sealed their La Liga title triumph last week but have been on a poor run of form towards the end of the season, finding themselves lacking particularly in games against the big sides.
They were humiliated in the Champions League semi-final, going out 7-0 on aggregate to high-flying Bayern Munich, and the Nou Camp board are concerned at how easily their side was ripped apart by the Bundesliga side.
With Carles Puyol ageing and having recent problems with injuries, a centre-back is a priority for the club this summer, as they look to tighten up at the back and estbalish themselves as genuine Champions League contenders again.
Laurent Koscielny is said to be a target, and is also being watched by Bayern, as former Barca boss Pep Guardiola is a fan of the Frenchman, who has not always been a starter at Arsenal this season.
The 27-year-old has forced his way into the team of late though, due to the poor form of Thomas Vermaelen, and has shown his quality in reading the game, as well as on the ball, looking like a perfect fit for Barcelona’s style of play.
He would cost around £20million, but Barca are expected to sell a number of their squad players this summer which will help fund the offer. They will hope that Arsenal’s recent track record of selling their key players will show once again, and add Koscielny to the list of Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas and Thierry Henry as recent players to swap the Emirates Stadium for the Nou Camp.
They are also reportedly keen on Vertonghen, who has had an excellent season with Tottenham since joining from Ajax. The Belgian has looked solid at the back as well as providing a good outlet going forward, showing great composure and technique to score and create goals. He would also cost around £20million, and Barca may be able to lure him away if current club Spurs do not qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Although it is thought that they would only sign one of these players, they could target both if they make a decision to demote Gerard Pique to a backup role at the club. The former Manchester United defender’s form has dropped this season and he may no longer be guaranteed a starting place if it continues.
Arsenal may already be preparing for the exit of Koscielny to Bayern or Barca, having made moves to sign Swansea City defender Ashley Williams as a replacement. Spurs, meanwhile, will be keen to hold on to Vertonghen as they only signed him a year ago, and they will not want to lose two key players in one go, as Gareth Bale is widely tipped to be subject to a big-money offer from Real Madrid.