Barcelona’s pursuit of Philippe Coutinho may be taking up most of the headlines but it’s just as likely that the club will look to bring in a defender this winter.
Javier Mascherano is expected to head off to China and, if so, a replacement will surely be needed to ensure Barca are not left short at the back for the rest of the season.
Here’s who they could go for...
Mina looks the most likely option this January as Barca already have an option to sign him and are reportedly looking to bring that forward.
There are drawbacks of course, they will likely have to pay extra to bring him in now, and he may find it even harder to acclimatise to a new club, country and league halfway through the season.
On the plus side, he is a hugely promising defender who has already said he would be happy to move to the club this winter.
Strong, good on the ball and great in the air, Mina is also a decent goalscorer and at 23 he’s probably only going to get better.
Matthijs de Ligt
The De Ligt to Barcelona rumors have quietened down recently but there’s no doubting that he’s one of Europe’s most promising young defenders.
The 18-year-old has been a ever-present for Ajax in the Eredivisie this season, scoring twice, to help his side into second place, five points behind leaders PSV Eindhoven.
Ajax have conceded just 17 goals in 18 league games this season although doing a deal in January could be tough, not least because the Dutch side only lost Davinson Sanchez to Spurs just over four months ago.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Jonathan Tah is another regular in the gossip columns and he is believed to have a release clause of €25 million, making him an attractive option.
Tah would also be available to play in the Champions League and speculation has claimed Robert Fernandez has been out to Germany to watch him in action.
Stefan de Vrij
Stefan de Vrij’s future is the topic of hot debate right now as he is out of contract next summer and therefore Lazio may cash in rather than see him walk away for free.
Liverpool have also been rumored to be interested, although the arrival of Virgil van Dijk may have ended that interest, but Inter are also believed to be in the race.
De Vrij has admitted he’s not sure what the future holds and he could well be on the move this winter.
Like De Vrij, Blind’s contract expires in the summer although Manchester United do have an option to extend it for another year.
However, the Dutchman has barely had a look-in this year under Jose Mourinho, making just three starts in the Premier League.
Like Mascherano, he’s pretty versatile too, able to play in midfield, at centre-back or at full-back.
He would be ineligble to play in the Champions League, but he’s an experienced, versatile player who might be available at a decent price in January.
Who do you think Barcelona should sign this winter? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!