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Barcelona transfer news: Four-man defensive shortlist, Bundesliga starlet eyed as bit-part ace offered exit

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has enjoyed a strong start to life in the Blaugrana hotseat, and plans are reportedly being made to strengthen the squad.

The Catalan giants have won nine of their first 10 La Liga games to move four points clear of their nearest rivals at the top of the standings, while they’ve also got a perfect three wins in three in the Champions League.

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In turn, it looks as though they’re well set to continue to compete for major trophies this season, but ultimately plans need to be made for the long-term future too with several key figures, namely the likes of Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta and even players like Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on the wrong side of 30 or at least approaching it.

It seems as though specific areas could be addressed as Mundo Deportivo report that sporting director Robert Fernandez scouted RB Leipzig duo Timo Werner and Dayot Upamecano last weekend.

Both have emerged as exciting young starlets, with Werner’s goalscoring exploits at one end of the pitch matched by Upamecano’s defensive qualities at the back.

The 21-year-old forward scored 21 goals in 32 appearances in all competitions last season, while he’s importantly set to back that up this year with six in nine already.

As a result, if Barcelona were able to seal the deal for these two, they would undoubtedly be adding real long-term quality to the team.

However, with regards to defensive options, Upamecano isn’t the only player on the radar, as Mundo Deportivo add that Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt, Inter defender Milan Skriniar and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly are all of interest to the Spanish outfit too.

Meanwhile, one player who doesn’t seem to have a long-term future at the Nou Camp is Rafinha, with Sport Mediaset reporting that Barcelona have offered his services to Juventus.

The 24-year-old is currently sidelined with a meniscus injury and so will have to work to get back to full fitness in the new year having yet to feature for Barcelona this season, and reports that he is on the market will undoubtedly be a blow to his confidence as his future could lie elsewhere.

Given that he’s only made 81 appearances in five seasons with Barca, it would suggest that he simply hasn’t done enough to establish himself in the senior squad on a consistent basis through a combination of injuries, form and competition for places.

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