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Barcelona consider alternatives for injury-prone Umtiti

France and Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti is currently nursing a knee injury

Bengaluru, November 21: Barcelona are reportedly lining up potential replacements for injury-prone French international Samuel Umtiti in January.

The 25-year-old is currently sidelined with knee ligament damage, and his last appearance for the Catalan club came two months ago against Leganes on September 26.

Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet, meanwhile, have formed a formidable partnership together in the wake of Umtiti's absence, while Thomas Vermaelen is constantly battling his own ever-present injury issues.

According to reports in Spain, Ernesto Valverde is willing to bring in another defender in the New Year to play second fiddle to Pique and Lenglet.

It was reported earlier this month that the La Liga side has identified Laurent Koscielny and David Luiz as two potential recruits.

Both men are seen as 'experienced and affordable' though the Arsenal ace hasn't featured all season and the Brazilian international has been ever-present under Maurizio Sarri.

Considering their age, they will not mind sitting on the bench as well and play a bit-part role for the Catalan giants.

It is understood that Ajax wonerkid Mattjis de Ligt is Barcelona's number one target, but the Dutch side would not sell him under any circumstance halfway through the campaign and even if they do, it will cost Barcelona a fortune.

Umtiti was given the all-clear by Barcelona's medical staff ahead of their shock 4-3 home defeat against Real Betis, but wasn't included in the squad.

And French boss Didier Deschamps also did not call up Umtiti for their international fixtures against Holland and Uruguay to let the ex-Lyon man recover.

Umtiti, tied down at the Nou Camp until 2023, has featured 90 times for Barca since signing from the Ligue 1 giants in 2015.

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    Story first published: Wednesday, November 21, 2018, 13:25 [IST]
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