Skip to main content

Barcelona targeting Aymen Abdennour, Jan Vertonghen for centre-back spot


Barcelona targeting Aymen Abdennour, Jan Vertonghen for centre-back spot

Barcelona may have a transfer ban to contend with but that isn't preventing Luis Enrique from planning for January when his new recruits can finally take to the field.

Reports are surfacing through Sport that the club are looking to sign a new central defender this week. The reported targets are Aymen Abdennour of Monaco and Tottenham Hotspur's Jan Vertonghen.

It is unlikely that the club will sign both targets but even just one would leave Luis Enrique’s side with six centre-backs of proven pedigree. Barcelona has a long season ahead and the squad will inevitably have to cope with various suspensions and injuries as the fixtures mount up.

But is six players fighting for essentially two positions asking too much when it comes to keeping players happy? The club is already seen to be particularly well equipped in that department given the options already at Enrique’s disposal.


Gerard Pique returned to his very best last season, culminating in a fine performance in the Champions League final victory over Juventus. The 28-year-old Catalan has also found his goalscoring touch, ending as the club's fifth highest scorer with seven goals last term. The Spanish international would seem to be a first choice for Enrique.

Javier Mascherano is also one of the first names on Enrique's team sheet having slipped seamlessly into the centre back role first handed to him by Pep Guardiola. One feels that the Argentine will not be lining up at centre back is if he has to cover one of the midfield positions.

Frenchman Jeremy Mathieu had a slow start to his career at the Camp Nou but grew into his role as the season went on and the versatility he possesses marks him out as a valuable squad member. Mathieu is primarily a central defender but can also play on the left if and when required.

Then there is La Masia graduate Marc Bartra who is surely a player Catalans would love to see established as an established starter at some stage in the future. At the age of 24, Bartra has made 79 appearances but has struggled to hold down a regular first team place. The good news for Bartra and his supporters is that he still has time on his side.

Barcelona targeting Aymen Abdennour, Jan Vertonghen for centre-back spot

Finally, there is last season's forgotten man Thomas Vermaelen. The former Arsenal skipper didn't make his debut until May after an injury wrecked campaign. Is he good enough to force his way into the first team? The Belgian struggled to hold down a place at The Emirates towards the end of his time in North London so it would be no surprise to see the29-year-old spend yet more time on the Camp Nou bench over the course of the season.

So what can potential new signings Jan Vertonghen or Aymen Abdennour bring to the squad should they arrive in Catalonia?


Tunisian international Abdennour is reportedly the club's first choice and has impressed many with his performances since joining Monaco in 2014 from Toulouse. The 25-year-old has roused the interest of a host of the Europe's biggest clubs but Abdennour has made no secret of his desire to play his football at the Camp Nou.

Abdennour has great pace, possesses fine technical ability and has leadership qualities that can only have a good effect on the team. The only slight question mark over the Tunisian international has been over his discipline but the positives far outweigh the negatives should a deal be made.

Barcelona targeting Aymen Abdennour, Jan Vertonghen for centre-back spot

Vertonghen, 28, would appear to be a backup choice should a deal for Abdennour not materialise. Since joining Tottenham in 2012, the Belgian has proved himself to be a reliable and talented performer. The Belgian has all the typical centre-back qualities. He is strong, a fine tackler and has a great aerial ability. The Belgian has been accused of being a little too laid-back at times but displays great composure when in possession.

So as with all positions in this Barca side there is intense competition when it comes to breaking into the starting eleven at centre back. It's possible Enrique has a plan in mind to play with three at the back if he feels they need a different approach to certain fixtures.

Should Abdennour or Vertonghen arrive at the Camp Nou, Enrique will have a plethora of options to choose from when he has a full squad to pick from in January. Anybody who does get their chance will not be afforded a settling in period and will need to play to the best of their abilities immediately- and that’s the way it should be at a club of Barcelona’s stature.

Published by Aaron Attwood, columnist at Barcablog. Follow him on Twitter @ajattwood

It's your turn


What do you think? Share your views by voting and commenting below.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why Paulinho can be an unexpectedly great partner for Lionel Messi

Paulinho landed at Barcelona after the Blaugranas agreed to pay his whopping €40 million release clause to his previous club, Guangzhou Evergrande from the Chinese Super League. After weeks of endless speculation and an even more significant amount of negative opinions from the vast majority of fans and media, it is clear that the Brazilian was going to face plenty of adversity as soon as he landed at the Camp Nou.

While it is obviously still early days in the season, Paulinho is slowly but surely establishing himself not only as a valid player for Barcelona, but also a real contender to break into Ernesto Valverde's starting lineup on a weekly basis. The Brazilian international's two goals in his last two matches have certainly contributed to Barcelona's impressive start to their La Liga campaign and, judging by his effective performance against Eibar, his presence in the team is very likely to remain a constant for the remainder of the season.

As our The Barcelona Podca…

Can Messi surpass his best ever Barcelona season? Valverde influence and Catalan referendum [TBPod35]

The Barcelona Podcast duo discuss Lionel Messi's staggering form after a four goal performance, Ernesto Valverde's early success as Barcelona manager, an update on the vote of no confidence and the Catalan referendum. Episode 35 of 'The Barcelona Podcast' is finally here!

Running Order:

Who are the 5 Star Players from the 6-1 victory over Eibar?

How is Ernesto Valverde getting the best out of the likes of Paulinho and Denis Suarez?

How is Messi thriving as a 'False 9' this season?

Why are there contradicting messages coming from the doctors and Ousmane Dembele?

Where are we with the vote of no confidence signatures?

Is it too early start thinking about how the Catalan referendum could affect the club?

If you enjoy the podcast and want to be part of it, why not show your support? Learn more at http://TBPod.link/Patreon -- Moltes gràcies!

What did you think about this episode? Leave a comment via Twitter or Facebook and debate with Francesc, Dan and the rest of …

Can Paulinho become Barcelona's next best Brazilian?

FC Barcelona have for some time now had a connection with players playing for the Canarinha, and 29-year-old Paulinho is the latest in that line.

From Evaristo de Macedo to Romario, Rivaldo and Ronaldo to Ronaldinho and Neymar, Brazilian forwards have excelled in the Blaugrana shirt. In recent years, Dani Alves, Silvinho and Adriano have proved that full-back is a position where Brazilians can succeed at the Camp Nou as well. Yet, midfielder has never been a position where Barcelona has had a ton of success with their Brazilian imports. Edmilson may be the standout example, but that one name alone pales in comparison to the rest.

It is too early to christen Paulinho the next great Brazilian at Barcelona, but so far the early returns indicate that he could strengthen the history of that position in Catalonia. The caveat after his transfer to Spain was whether or not he could replicate his performances with the Canarinho, and the
'Barcelona Podcast' duo delved into how Ernesto …

Lionel Messi thrashes Eibar to extend Barcelona's perfect start in La Liga | Quick Reaction and Player Ratings

Barcelona achieved a comfortable 6-1 victory against Eibar at the Camp Nou in Matchday 5 of La Liga. Although the game was not spectacular, Barca's effectiveness upfront was the decisive factor that unbalanced the game in the Blaugranas' favour.

As it could not be any different, the ever-present Lionel Messi stole the show once again. The Argentinean star continued to excel in the False 9 role that Ernesto Valverde has granted him, taking full advantage of the many fluid partnerships he is now capable to build from his more central position. As surprisingly as it may sound to most, Messi's constant linking with Paulinho was actually one of the highlights of Barca's attacking transitions.

With Luis Suarez remaining an unused substitute, Barcelona's newly arrived manager decided to trust both Denis Suarez and Gerard Deulofeu as wingers and, given what we saw on the pitch, it is hard to disagree with his decision. Denis was influential throughout the whole game, runn…

Can Barcelona overcome the absence of Dembele? Deulofeu golden chance, Paulinho progression and Cruyff [TBPod34]

The Barcelona Podcast duo break down the disheartening Ousmane Dembele injury, provide in-depth analysis of the games against Getafe and Eibar, discuss Paulinho's role as Barca's saviour and so much more! Episode 34 of 'The Barcelona Podcast' is finally here!

Running Order:
What does Ousmane Dembele's injury mean for Barcelona?
Who could get more minutes with Dembele's injury?
Is it time to trust Paulinho?
Who are the 5 Star Players from the 2-1 win over Getafe?
How will Barcelona match up against Eibar?
What does the new stadium mean for Barcelona B and Barcelona Femeni?
Is Agusti Benedito any closer to the vote of no confidence?

If you enjoy the podcast and want to be part of it, why not show your support? Learn more at http://TBPod.link/Patreon -- Moltes gràcies!

What did you think about this episode? Leave a comment via Twitter or Facebook and debate with Francesc, Dan and the rest of our 700,000-strong FC Barcelona community.

You can also subscribe via em…

Is Messi on track to improve his best ever season at Barcelona? Valverde's tactical tweaks and Catalunya politics [TBPod35]

The Barcelona Podcast duo discuss Lionel Messi's staggering form after a four goal performance, Ernesto Valverde's early success as Barcelona manager, an update on the vote of no confidence and the Catalan referendum. Episode 35 of 'The Barcelona Podcast' is finally here!

Running Order:

Who are the 5 Star Players from the 6-1 victory over Eibar?

How is Ernesto Valverde getting the best out of the likes of Paulinho and Denis Suarez?

How is Messi thriving as a 'False 9' this season?

Why are there contradicting messages coming from the doctors and Ousmane Dembele?

Where are we with the vote of no confidence signatures?

Is it too early start thinking about how the Catalan referendum could affect the club?

If you enjoy the podcast and want to be part of it, why not show your support? Learn more at http://TBPod.link/Patreon -- Moltes gràcies!

What did you think about this episode? Leave a comment via Twitter or Facebook and debate with Francesc, Dan and the rest of …

Who's in with Ousmane Dembele out?

Ousmane Dembele has never had an issue with muscular issues in the past. That's the good news. Ernesto Valverde has come out and said that being a speedy player, it may have been his lack of experience in dealing with muscle pain to understand the severity of his condition prior to the tendon actually rupturing in the game against Getafe.

This means that Ernesto Valverde is looking at the same team sans Munir, Douglas, Sergi Samper and Marlon Santos, now all out on loan, that he had the moment that Neymar left for France. With every first team player with the exception of Rafinha currently seen as an option, Valverde will have to use the magical touch he had with Paulinho and Denis Suarez against Getafe to get the best out of his line-ups.

The 20-year-old winger may be out until 2018, so Valverde's plan to showcase the squad's depth will be on full display with games against Eibar, Girona, Sporting CP in the Champions League and Las Palmas all happening within the next tw…

Nelson Semedo only getting better for Barcelona

He may have only started three games for FC Barcelona, but the hype train for Nelson Semedo has already left the station.

A twelve minute cameo against Chapecoense AF in the Joan Gamper Trophy game got him his unofficial Barcelona debut, followed up by a forty minute appearance against Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup where he looked like a player getting accustomed to his teammates.

Four days later in the La Liga opener, the Portuguese defender was given his first Barcelona start against Real Betis. He hit 94% of his passes, 52 in total, and seemed to be finding his feet on the right side.

After not featuring against Deportivo Alaves, he was given another start against Espanyol in a 5-0 trouncing of the local rival. His dribbling was less purposeful, but his defending was spot-on in controlling the right side of the field and combining well with Gerard Deulofeu. He still hit 92% of his passes and landed 78 total passes while showing his speed on a few occasions.

With the start a…

How can Barcelona replace Dembele? Paulinho steps up, Johan Cruyff stadium and Eibar [TBPod34]

The Barcelona Podcast duo break down the disheartening Ousmane Dembele injury, provide in-depth analysis of the games against Getafe and Eibar, discuss Paulinho's role as Barca's saviour and so much more! Episode 34 of 'The Barcelona Podcast' is finally here!

Running Order:
What does Ousmane Dembele's injury mean for Barcelona?
Who could get more minutes with Dembele's injury?
Is it time to trust Paulinho?
Who are the 5 Star Players from the 2-1 win over Getafe?
How will Barcelona match up against Eibar?
What does the new stadium mean for Barcelona B and Barcelona Femeni?
Is Agusti Benedito any closer to the vote of no confidence?

If you enjoy the podcast and want to be part of it, why not show your support? Learn more at http://TBPod.link/Patreon -- Moltes gràcies!

What did you think about this episode? Leave a comment via Twitter or Facebook and debate with Francesc, Dan and the rest of our 700,000-strong FC Barcelona community.

You can also subscribe via em…

Aleix Vidal becoming a victim of Nelson Semedo's excellent form for Barcelona

Aleix Vidal has been left out of the Barcelona's squad that is to play away at Getafe on Saturday for the second consecutive match -- which is disappointing given the fact that the Catalan full-back had, in theory, everything in his favour to establish himself as a regular starter this season.

As it could not be any different, Ernesto Valverde refused to make give the situation much importance when speaking to the media in the Getafe pre-match conference: "Aleix is a player who can help us in more than one position. I understand these type of questions, but it’s likely that I will have to leave one or two players out of the squad on a weekly basis. Aleix started the game against Alaves and, although, he’s not been in the squad for the last two matches, that could change at any moment. I’m happy with him and with his performances."

Undoubtedly, the incredible form that new signing Nelson Semedo has shown of late is having an detrimental effect to Vidal's playing time…