Bartomeu: Barcelona open to defensive reinforcements

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said the La Liga champions could sign a new defender in January amid their injury crisis.

Experienced defender Thomas Vermaelen will miss six weeks with a hamstring injury, joining World Cup-winning centre-back Samuel Umtiti on the sidelines.

Umtiti could be out of action until the new year, leaving Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet as the only recognised centre-backs at Camp Nou.

Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld has emerged as a possible January target, while Barca continue to be linked with Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt.

Asked about Barca’s defensive issues ahead of the January window, Bartomeu said: “Well, injuries happen all of the time in football, you have to deal with it.

“These two centre-backs got injured so we are now a little thinner at this position.

“Even so, Gerard Pique and Lenglet are both there and ready to cover well.

“A new defender? Well we always have our eyes open so let’s see what we will decide to do in January.

“Injuries also allow younger players to play so you have to be able to cope with it.”

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Barcelona sit second in La Liga through eight matches having conceded just nine goals in that time. 

The Catalans will have a chance to go top of the league this weekend as they take on current leaders Sevilla.

They will then turn their attentions to the Champions League where they face a crucial clash with Inter. The two clubs sit level on six points in Group B through two matches. 

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