Ernesto Valverde coy on Barcelona signings


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Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde says he isn’t necessarily looking to add to his squad in the January transfer window.

The Catalan giants are in the midst of a mini defensive crisis as Samuel Umtiti and Javier Mascherano are currently sidelined, leaving Gerard Pique and Thomas Vermaelen as the only fit senior central defenders.

That has led to reports Barca could be on the hunt for a new centre-half but Valverde says he is happy with his options.

“A lot of thought would have to go into any signing,” Valverde told reporters on Monday.

“Right now, we are happy with the group of central defenders we have but when there are injuries, of course you might consider going into the market.

“The injury to Umtiti is not a good one but we hope he recovers quickly but we must look at other solutions such as [midfielder Sergio] Busquets or [left-back Lucas] Digne.

“Yerry Mina? He is a good player but right now he is at another club [Brazilian outfit Palmeiras] and we are not yet clear if he will arrive in January or the end of the season.

“We have two healthy central defenders at the moment so hopefully they can avoid injury because we are talking about the situation quite a lot.”

Barcelona host Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Tuesday and Valverde will be hoping his squad come through the clash unscathed ahead of Sunday’s La Liga trip to Villarreal, as they have already secured their spot in the knockout stages in Europe’s top competition as group winners.

Barcelona are 1.53 to win at Villarreal on Sunday or 2.20 with a -1 handicap.

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