Barcelona may sit second in the league, but they have looked vulnerable defensively which has seen them drop points in their last four La Liga games. At its best their defence is a rock, but that’s not been the case so far this season.
However, the January transfer window isn’t far away, so Barcelona could look to strengthen if they feel it’s needed. Here are five defenders Barcelona should look at this winter:
Matthijs de Ligt
The list had to start with this guy. Many legends of the game have donned the Barcelona jersey as well as the Ajax one and De Ligt is a promising center-back who is exceeding expectations. At just 19, he has got the composure, presence of mind and tactical astuteness which make him an immense asset. He passes the ball well, has a penchant for short passes and importantly, is an indirect set-piece threat. A leader at the back, he can be the next best defensive signing since Umtiti if Barcelona manage to secure his services. The only problem is that sporting director Marc Overmars has said there is a “zero per cent” chance of him leaving in January. Barcelona may have to wait to land their man.
Lucas Digne’s departure has left Barcelona short at left-back and Grimaldo is an exciting prospect who is in fine form for Portuguese giants Benfica. The Spanish left-back has blistering pace, likes to pass, runs back and forth like it’s fun and is a good crosser of the ball. Waiting for his international call-up, Grimaldo is pretty much suited for the Blaugranes, not forgetting he has his roots in La Masia. At just 23, he has a lot of football in him and it’s best Barcelona snap him up, or someone else will.
The rise of this starlet is noteworthy. Dayot Upamecano, the 19-year-old French center-back has risen from the reserves into the RB Leipzig A-list and has done so in some style. The strong defender is a presence at the back and a threat when it comes to indirect set-pieces. His knack of intercepting passes and tackling skills are noteworthy. Though there are concerns regarding his lack of focus at times, he will definitely get better and has a lot to prove. However, his price is steep - he won’t come cheap. If Barcelona do decide to buy him he will provide great competition at centre-back which should strengthen the backline.
The 23-year-old Slovak who has been linked with Barcelona and a number of top clubs is a thorn for attackers. It’s rare to find a combination of immaculate tackling, amazing concentration, astute passing and great composure but Skriniar has the lot. He is hotly tipped to be the next big star and is perfect for Barcelona. While his heart seems to be at the San Siro, he has said recently he’d be happy to stay for his “entire career”, a huge offer from a top club could sway his, and his club’s, resolute stand.
Lyon starlet Mendy is quickly gaining attention for his dribbling and passing skills. He has reportedly caught Eric Abidal’s eye and, much like Jordi Alba, has great understanding and positioning for key passes. He is impressing for Lyon and it seems just a matter of time before he gets a call-up from France boss Didier Deschamps. Like Grimaldo, he has an eye for goal and if he links up with the Blaugranes, he can be an able back-up for the Blaugranes.