Barcelona Transfer News: Elite Defenders Shortlisted by Luis Enrique

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Barcelona Transfer News: Elite Defenders Shortlisted by Luis Enrique
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Luis Enrique inherited one of the world's finest attacking line-ups when he took over at Barcelona, but the defence at Camp Nou is a somewhat more contentious topic.

A deal for Jeremy Mathieu has gone some way toward developing the club's depth at the back, but more additions will be required if the club are to right the wrongs of their last campaign.

Enrique is thought to be lining up a bevy of defensive figures, some of whom promise to bring a great deal more stability to the Catalan side than others.

Mateo Musacchio

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Barca face a fight to land Villarreal star Mateo Musacchio this summer after it came to light that Tottenham are close to a deal.

Mauricio Pochettino will supposedly use his Argentinian links to convince the centre-back of a north London switch, per the Mirror's Ed Malyon, with Spurs said to be willing to offer £16 million—£4 million shy of Villarreal's valuation.

Samuel Marsden of Spanish outlet SPORT hints at the shrewd manner of Pochettino's potential new signing:

New signing Mathieu recently incurred some ire after the Frenchman opened up about his smoking habits, per Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo (h/t Sportsmole's Sam McEvoy):

I don't smoke much but I do it when I want. I'm not a smoker who smokes a pack every day. I haven't smoked for a fortnight right now. What counts is what happens on the pitch. People will forget when they see me run.

Regardless of the impact it makes, that admission in itself may affect Enrique's choice when it comes to fielding the versatile defender, with centre-back acquisitions perhaps given a new sense of priority.

Thomas Vermaelen and Mats Hummels

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According to the latest reports, Manchester United and Barcelona are supposedly locked in a two-way battle for the loyalties of Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen and Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels.

That's according to John Richardson of the Express, who claims that the Gunners' Belgian skipper could be available for £10 million, while Hummels will reportedly cost anywhere between £25 million and £30 million.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Fans at Camp Nou will be pleased to hear club president Josep Bartomeu talk so openly about the club's plans for further recruits this summer, per's Alec Fenn"The transfer window isn't over yet, it ends in a month's time. I think we still have some things left to do this summer."

With Gerard Pique and Marc Bartra currently sitting as La Blaugrana's primary options in central defence, it's no surprise to see that strengthening the back line remains a priority for the club.

However, Norwegian pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft and Jamie Jackson of the Guardian have opposite stances on the availability of Hummels and Vermaelen:

United are in need of centre-back options themselves following Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand's exits to Inter and Queens Park Rangers, respectively.

Therefore, Barcelona may have some tough competition on their hands.

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