Barcelona look set to be without key center-back Gerard Pique for several months due to a knee injury which could see the club move for a new defender when the transfer window opens in January.
Atletico Madrid’s 31-year-old center-back Felipe Augusto has emerged as one possible option as he is not currently in coach Diego Simeone’s plans, according to Javier G. Matallanas at AS.
Barcelona want to bring in a “top-level” replacement for Pique and think Felipe may be an option as he has slipped behind Stefan Savic, Jose Giménez, and Mario Hermoso in the pecking order at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
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Barcelona Injury Situation Improving
Pique is not the only injured center-back on Barca’s books at present. Samuel Umtiti and Ronald Araujo are also sidelined, although coach Ronald Koeman told a news conference on Tuesday he is hoping to have both players available soon.
Umtiti feels ready to return, will play game with Barça B tomorrow, Koeman says. Lenglet fine. Araujo possibly Sat vs. Cadiz
— Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) December 1, 2020
Yet Umtiti’s long-term future at the club remains in some doubt. The Frenchman has been plagued by knee injuries since helping Les Bleus win the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
He has not played for Barca since June due to injury and has been linked with a move away in the January transfer window. Premier League side Everton would be willing to bring in the center-back this winter, according to Mundo Deportivo.
If Umtiti were to leave it could bring in some funds and free up some space on the wage bill for Barcelona to sign a new player. The Frenchman’s departure would also leave Koeman with just two senior fit center-backs in Clement Lenglet and Ronald Araujo and needing to strengthen.
Barcelona Fans Tell Club Not to Spend
Felipe is not the only defender to be linked with a move to Barcelona ahead of the reopening of the transfer window. Yet the club’s supporters would much rather the Catalan giants did not spend and invested in youth instead.
Barcelona-based newspaper Mundo Deportivo has polled fans on which center-back they would prefer their team to bet on in January. Over 70% of supporters voted for the team to go with 21-year-old Barcelona B defender Oscar Mingueza “or another player” from Barca’s reserve team.
Manchester City defender Eric Garcia, who came through the ranks at Barcelona, received 15% of the vote, while Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi and Chelsea center-back Antonio Rudiger both received less than 1% each.
Barcelona’s financial difficulties do mean it could be a difficult transfer window, particularly because the club are not due to elect a new president until January 24, giving the new man in charge precious little time to make decisions.
Koeman may also be tempted to bet on youth. Mingueza made his debut for the club in the 4-0 Champions League win over Dynamo Kiev and also started Sunday’s 4-0 victory against Osasuna.
The club’s injury problems mean more first-team chances are likely to come Mingueza’s way, and if he continues to shine at senior level the club may decide against investing in their backline this winter.