Barcelona identify top target to solve defensive issue in January, initial loan move touted

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has a real issue in defence currently, but he could be set for a boost in the January transfer window.

Although the Catalan giants have been a joy to watch from an attacking perspective in recent weeks, picking up big wins over Espanyol and Levante, they’ve been vulnerable defensively too this year.

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Barca have conceded 19 goals in their opening 16 La Liga games, giving them the joint-worst defensive record of the top seven sides in the table.

They’ve not been helped by Samuel Umtiti’s ongoing knee injury woes, while Thomas Vermaelen has been unable to steer clear of injuries himself.

In turn, that has left Valverde with Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet, and while they’re an experienced and highly-talented duo, it’s not enough to suggest that Barcelona can risk going forward trying to compete on multiple fronts with such little quality depth.

With that in mind, Mundo Deportivo report that Jeison Murillo has now emerged as their preferred option to bolster the backline, and they will launch a January bid to sign him, initially taking him on loan from Valencia.

Time will tell if an agreement is now reached between the respective parties to make a January move materialise, with the 26-year-old boasting key attributes that could make him an important addition.

From his pace, reading of the game to his physicality, he has impressed during his career to this point, enjoying spells with Granada and Inter previously to emerge as a talented centre-half.

Nevertheless, if he does secure a move to the Nou Camp, this will be a major step up for him and he’ll have to prove that he’s good enough to make the grade. First though, it remains to be seen if Barcelona do indeed make their move next month.

Whether it’s Murillo or another target, they must feel as though they have to address one of the biggest vulnerabilities in their squad.

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