The Catalan Giants needed a back up defender and will target De Ligt in summer.
Barcelona will finally have relief as they signed Murillo on loan from Valencia. The defender will bring more options to the La Liga champions. With Umtiti and Vermalen, Barcelona were running short of defenders. It seems they have solved the defence problem and want to sign De Ligt in summer.
Barcelona have confirmed the loan signing of Valencia defender Jeison Murillo until the end of the season. There were reports earlier on Thursday morning that Barcelona was targeting Murillo as a temporary solution to their problems at centre-back while they hope to sign Ajax starlet Matthijs de Ligt in the summer.
Samuel Umtiti is currently sidelined with a knee problem and it is unclear when the France defender will be back in action, while Thomas Vermaelen picked up a calf injury in Sunday’s 5-0 win at Levante and will be out for around four weeks. That left Barca with only two fit central defenders: Gerard Pique and summer signing Clement Lenglet.
It meant bringing in a defender as cover in January was a priority. Although with the wage bill at Camp Nou higher than any other club in Europe, money was tight for the Blaugrana. Barcelona confirmed on Thursday afternoon that Murillo, 26, has joined on loan for the rest of the 2018-19 season. The Colombian international is 26 and has played previously in La Liga with Granada. Ajax’s talented young defender De Ligt remains their top target.
But the Dutch international will not be available until the summer. The La Liga giants want both De Ligt and his teammate Frenkie de Jong in the summer. But they will face fierce competition for both the defender and the midfielder from a number of Europe’s elite clubs.
It seems Murillo’s deal may give them leverage. Barcelona have the option to buy Murillo for €25million, which could also give them leverage in any potential negotiations with Ajax regarding De Ligt. However, given the fierce interest of Juventus and PSG, the Nou Camp side may lose both of Ajax’s brightest stars.