Barcelona have been buoyed by news that River Plate would be willing to sell young defender Eder Alvarez Balanta.

However, they have slapped a €15m price tag on the uncapped Colombian's head.

Balanta, 20, has emerged as one of the most promising prospects in South America, having only made his debut earlier this year. He has caught the eye with his strength, domineering presence and composure on the ball. 

It is believed that Barca see him as an ideal replacement for the ageing Carles Puyol, who is now in the twilight of his career. Their other options at centre-back include Gerard Pique, midfield convert Javier Mascherano and the inexperienced and unproven Marc Bartra. 

They feel that Balanta would offer something different and brings the quality they lack when Puyol is absent.

River Plate's vice-president Omar Salassi has conceded that his side will struggle to keep hold of the highly-coveted Balanta, but insists they will remain firm on their demands.

He said: "Balanta is worth €15 million, he is a great player with a great future."

When asked if Barcelona had made a concrete offer, he added: "We would listen to offers for him, but Barca have made not official offer to us for him."

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