Barcelona eye surprise candidate for crucial problem in Ernesto Valverde’s squad as short-term solution

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After injury setbacks suffered by defensive duo Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen, Barcelona are reportedly in the transfer market for a defender.

The Catalan giants have a real problem in that department, as with the injury troubles noted above, coach Ernesto Valverde only has Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet as his experienced and natural options at centre-half.

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For a club looking to compete on multiple fronts and with such a busy fixture schedule, that’s far from ideal as Valverde will hope that both Pique and Lenglet can remain fit and avoid issues of their own in the coming weeks and months.

With that concern in mind though, it would come as no surprise if Barcelona consider making a signing in January to address the problem but according to Mundo Deportivo, they’ve been paired with a shock swoop for former Chelsea stalwart Branislav Ivanovic.

Now 34 years of age and plying his trade in Russia, it would seem like a strange bid to make from Barcelona’s perspective as there are surely more suitable options on the market.

Nevertheless, the counter argument to that is Ivanovic brings plenty of quality, experience and a winning pedigree to the table, and so could perhaps be a sensible short-term fix to the problem.

Mundo Deportivo add that other names are on the transfer shortlist, but it remains to be seen which is the most likely addition in January, if one arrives at all.

What is clear though is that it would be sensible on their part to bolster that area of the squad if they have ambitions of defending their La Liga crown while simultaneously trying to secure Champions League glory again this season.

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