BARCELONA are reportedly lining up potential replacements for Samuel Umtiti in January as the defender continues to recover from a knee injury.
The 25-year-old is currently sidelined with knee ligament damage, with his last appearance for the Catalan club coming against Leganes on September 26.
Getty – Contributor4 Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti hasn't featured since September after picking up a knee injury
AFP or licensors4 Barca could sign a back-up defender in the New Year should Umtiti remain on the sidelines
Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet have forged a partnership together in the wake of Umtiti's absence, while Thomas Vermaelen is constantly battling his own injury demons.
According to AS, 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 had identified Laurent Koscielny and David Luiz as two potential recruits.
Both men are seen as 'experienced and cheap' – though the Arsenal ace hasn't featured all season and the Brazilian international has been ever-present under Maurizio Sarri.
AFP or licensors4 Umtiti, 25, was part of the French squad that won the World Cup in Russia in the summer
Which players could Barcelona sign as a backup?
- Laurent Koscielny
- David Luiz
- Medhi Benatia
- Benedikt Howedes
- Domagoj Vida
- Adil Rami
- Raul Albiol
AP:Associated Press4 Former Lyon star Umtiti is tied down at the Nou Camp until 2023
It is understood that Ajax maestro Mattjis de Ligt is Barcelona's number one target, but the Dutch side would not sell him under no circumstance halfway through the campaign.
Umtiti was given the all-clear by Barca'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 failed to 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.
MOST READ IN FOOTBALLExclusivePaul the other one Man United hero Scholes dropped by team in 11TH tier of English football SAD-IO MANE Senegal ace Mane helped off field in TEARS after being booed by his own fans ROO HYPE Shilton mocks Rooney over Iceland loss as ex-England captain blasts former players GossipLET'S SEE Brazilian superstar Everton delays decision over future amid United interest Picturedsnus-sed out Ashley Cole ignores docs to use tobacco snus while with model girlfriend in LA GossipGUNNER GO? Barcelona star Denis Suarez 'gives green light' to Arsenal move