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Report: Barcelona shortlist Villarreal defender as summer transfer target

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Barcelona already have favorite targets to sign this season. But there's nothing wrong with having some backups.

It is common knowledge that the Catalan giants are looking for a defender for next season. Coach Luis Enrique has asked for a young, talented center-back with great potential to anchor the Barça defense in the future. The main targets are Paris Saint-Germain's Marquinhos and Athletic Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte.

There are a few problems with those two, however: they are very expensive, the clubs they belong to are hard to negotiate with, and other teams from around Europe have also approached PSG and Bilbao to make giant offers for the youngsters. Which is why Enrique, sporting director Robert Fernández and the Barça scouting team have shortlisted an alternative: Villarreal center-back Eric Bailly.

According to a report from Mundo Deportivo, the Ivorian checks all boxes the Catalans are looking for in a backup option: he is young (22 years old), very fast for his position (a necessity for Barça's style, especially to partner the slow Gerard Piqué) and is cheap in comparison to Marquinhos and Laporte (he would cost around €20 million). Blaugrana scouts have watched several of Bailly's most recent appearances, and their reports are positive and encouraging.

Again, this is not the new priority. Barça will go hard after Marquinhos and Laporte to try and sign at least one of them. But if a market disaster happens, the Catalans have a fallback plan.

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