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Barcelona looking for a ‘physical CB’, three names on the list



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With Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez eyeing a revamp of the squad this summer, the club legend has identified several key areas of the roster that need to be strengthened.

A top-class centre-forward remains the utmost priority for Barça, and they are believed to be closing in on the signing of Robert Lewandowski.

The next key position that the manager wants to reinforce is the heart of the defence. Barcelona are already set to sign Andreas Christensen on a Bosman deal when his Chelsea contract expires at the end of June.

However, as per Mundo Deportivo, Xavi seeks another centre-back in addition to Christensen, with the Barcelona manager on the lookout for someone with a strong physical profile, who can add power and robustness to the Blaugrana backline.

The manager is of the belief that Christensen will add the technical component, along with the likes of Eric Garcia and Gerard Pique, but does not back it up with a physical presence. So, he wants someone of that profile to cover and compete with Ronald Araujo.

The report claims that Barcelona have three players who seem to fit the profile on their radars. The first name on the list is that of Napoli defensive mainstay Kalidou Koulibaly. A physical specimen with years of top-level experience under his belt, the 30-year-old can be a fine addition.

Koulibaly’s contract with Napoli expires in 2023 and he has rejected an offer from the club, opening the doors for a summer move. But, there is a lot of competition from Juventus, PSG, AS Roma, Inter Milan, Aston Villa and Newcastle United.

The second option, and the one favoured more by Xavi, is Sevilla’s Jules Kounde. The 23-year-old is held in high regard by the manager due to his age and proven pedigree and knowledge of La Liga football, along with his ball-playing capabilities.

Like Koulibaly, Kounde is also attracting a lot of interest, particularly from Chelsea, who are pressing to sign the defender.

The third name on the list is that of Athletic Club’s Inigo Martinez. The 31-year-old would be a left-footed option, which would come in handy as both Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet are set to be on their way out. His physicality and leadership also make him an appealing prospect.

However, as per the report, wages could be an issue with regard to the Spanish international due to the differences in tax laws between the Basque County and Catalonia.

AC Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli, who will be a free agent in the summer, is also being considered but is not a favourable option as things stand. So, it remains to be seen who the Blaugrana decide to bring in before next season.

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