While Ronald Araujo and Gerard Pique have been in great form through the season, they have suffered multiple injuries, which has acted as a catalyst in Barcelona’s pursuit of central defenders.
They have already signed Andreas Christensen from Chelsea, but are on the lookout for more players, especially someone who can replace Pique. The Spaniard has been troubled with a reoccurring knee injury, and will possibly retire at the end of next season.
One of the names that Xavi appreciates is Kalidou Koulibaly. The Napoli centre-back has enjoyed a spectacular season, leading his team to third place in Serie A. With his contract expiring in 2023, Barcelona are hoping to convince him to leave Italy.
Napoli are yet to offer Koulibay a contract extension, and have slapped a €30 million price tag on him.
Barcelona, unfortunately, cannot afford to pay that amount and as a result, are looking at alternatives. Luckily, Napoli are interested in Miralem Pjanic, and have proposed to include the Bosnian midfielder in the deal, according to Daniele Longo.
Pjanic is currently on loan at Besiktas, and will return to Barcelona at the end of the season. He is, however, unlikely to continue with the Catalans.
He is priced at around €10-15 million, and could help bring down Kouliably’s €30 million price tag.
The other names on Barcelona’s centre-back radar include Jules Kounde, but a move for him is even unlikelier given that Sevilla demand a price upwards of €60 million. The next few weeks in the market could see some very interesting twists for Barcelona.