Barcelona seeking defensive stop-gap solutions

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As reported by Sport, Barcelona will be in the market for a cheap option for a new defender in January.

There are three names from the Premier League that have apparently attracted their interest, and as many from the Serie A.

The names on the list are apparently Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger, Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi, and the most surprising link of all – Liverpool’s Joel Matip. The report itself recognizes the fact that signing Matip borders on impossible, given that the Cameroonian remains the only senior designated centre-back option for the Merseysiders at the moment due to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both being ruled out for the biggest part of the season.

As for the Serie A, the Catalans are said to be looking at Fiorentina’s German Pezzella, AS Roma’s Federico Fazio and AC Milan’s Mateo Musacchio.

Rudiger is apparently their first-choice target. Having come close to leaving Stamford Bridge in the summer, the 27-year-old remains keen on a move given that he is placed low in the pecking order under Frank Lampard.

But if that fails, Barcelona will turn to Mustafi, who has played in Spain before and joined Arsenal from Valencia in 2016. The 28-year-old’s contract with the Gunners expires at the end of the season, and plenty of reports have suggested that he won’t be signing a new one.

Pezzella, Fazio and Musacchio all have experience of playing in La Liga as well. Along with Rudiger, Pezzella was reportedly a target for Barcelona in the summer, but the deal didn’t go through because of Barcelona’s reluctance to pay €15 million for his services, which was the price Fiorentina demanded.

Barcelona still hold the stance that they don’t want to pay a high fee – they would prefer to pay nothing – due to the potential new signing being viewed as a stop-gap solution until they bring in Eric Garcia from Manchester City next summer.