Barcelona are looking to follow up their first centre-back signing in five years with another, and have drawn up a list of some of Europe’s best and brightest centre-backs.
Boss Luis Enrique wants two players for every position, and now has three centre-backs with Jeremy Mathieu joining Gerard Pique and Marc Bartra.
According to Marca, Mats Hummels, Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Vermaelan, Marquinhos and Daley Blind are all on the shortlist.
The World Cup-winning defender would be a perfect fit for Barcelona, in terms of both talent and status.
However it would take a significant bid for Dortmund to even consider letting one of their few prized possessions leave, with Lewandowski leaving for nothing.
With three years still left to run on his contract, Dortmund are in a position of strength, and with two big money signings in as many years, it unknown exactly how much Barca have left in the bank.
Vertonghen would fit the bill nicely for Barcelona. Strong, fairly quick, experienced and comfortable going forward with the ball. However any chance of a deal looks dead after the Belgium verbally committed his future to Spurs.
“It’s certainly flattering when a big club like Barcelona show an interest in signing you,” He told Sporza.
“It’s confirmation that you are on the right track. They say ‘when there’s smoke, there’s fire’, but there’s no fire for now.”
They may forget the former Ajax defender and move for a current one in the form of Daley Blind.
Still fairly young at 24, Blind already has years of Champions League football under his belt. With four Eredivise medals around his neck, he’s a born winner, and had a debut World Cup to remember, where Holland finished third.
Centre-back is his third choice position, having featured more prominently as a defensive midfielder and left back for the majority of the season. Barca are likely to face competition from Manchester United for his signature with Louis Van Gaal likely to be a big draw for Blind.
Vermaelen seems to want out of Arsenal after losing his starting spot to Laurent Koscielney and Per Mertersaker. The Belgian only has a year left to run on his contract, making the 28-year-old a relatively cheap, experienced option.
Again Manchester United are reportedly interested, but the lure of Champions league football could tip the scales in Barca’s favour.
Having signed 30-year-old Jeremy Mathieu, Barcelona may look at slightly younger, long term option such as Marquinhos.
PSG have already shaken things up in defence, with David Luiz making the move to a Paris with Alex going to AC Milan. With over £80 million worth of defensive talent ahead of him, Marquinhos is unlikely to be first choice at PSG.
A certain star for the future, Barca might be able to offer him the first tea, football he craves. However despite being the youngest option, Marquinhos is also likely to be the most expensive, with Paris Saint-Germain shelling out €32 million for the 20-year-old just a year ago.
Luis Enrique will have to match that to have a chance of signing the promising Brazillian.