Barcelona set sights on 19-year-old Brazilian starlet to address key problem area, also watched by Real Madrid

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Injuries and poor form have exposed an issue in the Barcelona squad this season, but reports claim that the club could be eyeing a long-term solution in defence.

Samuel Umtiti has been sidelined for a significant period due to injury, while stalwart Thomas Vermaelen has struggled with regular setbacks.

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Coupled with the shaky form of Gerard Pique earlier in the campaign and the time it took for summer signing Clement Lenglet to settle, Barcelona arguably haven’t been as solid at the back as coach Ernesto Valverde would have liked.

They’ve conceded 14 goals in 11 La Liga games so far this season, giving them the joint worst defensive record of the top six teams, while conceding that late equaliser against Inter in the Champions League in midweek was another reminder of their flaws in that department.

With that in mind, Mundo Deportivo claim that the Catalan giants have got a long-term solution on their radar and that is Corinthians youngster Leo Santos.

The 19-year-old Brazilian starlet is also said to be attracting interest from Real Madrid, and so it remains to be seen which Spanish giant is convinced and makes their move next year but the mere fact that both are linked arguably says a lot about his ability and the impression he’s made early on in his career.

Given he’s a right-footed centre-half, it could be argued that he might be seen as a long-term replacement for Pique who turns 32 next year, although Vermaelen is being tipped to leave at the end of the season, as per Mundo Deportivo, and so additional quality and depth will be needed if that materialises.

Alongside Lenglet (23) and Umtiti (24) though, that would surely be another move to solidify the area with a long-term vision in mind as Barcelona hope to put the building blocks in place to maintain their success as they go in search of more silverware this season.

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