Barcelona set sights on £50m+ Chelsea transfer target to solve future headache

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Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has a defensive headache on his hands currently, but reports claim the club could swoop for a long-term solution next summer.

After Samuel Umtiti suffered a hamstring injury in the draw with Celta Vigo on Saturday, the Catalan giants will be left short of options at the back with Thomas Vermaelen likely to step in to partner Gerard Pique, as he did this weekend.

Javier Mascherano is also an option, but neither of the two stalwarts offer long-term reliability given their age and injury history, and so it surely has to be a priority for Barcelona either in January or at the end of the season to address their defensive shortcomings.

According to Il Mattino, as re-reported by Football Italia, they may set their sights on Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who has established himself as a rock at the back for the Partenopei.

The Italian giants have pushed on under Maurizio Sarri since last season and are currently gunning for Serie A glory this year, but beyond that, Koulibaly could have aspirations of winning major honours and he certainly would have a great chance of that at the Nou Camp given Barca’s trophy haul over the years.

As per The Sun, the Senegal international was the subject of a bid over £50m from Chelsea this past summer, and so it would likely take a figure above that to prise him away from the Stadio San Paolo.

While Napoli will undoubtedly be desperate to keep a pivotal figure in their team at the club, Barcelona have a problem to address with Mascherano expected to leave next summer, as per the Sun.

In turn, Koulibaly would be a brilliant addition, as not only does he offer defensive solidity and aerial prowess, but he’s comfortable on the ball and would fit in perfectly in terms of style of play at Barcelona who have relied on their centre-halves to build play from the back.

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