BARCELONA

Barça and Manchester City to go toe-to-toe for Julian Weigl

The 21-year-old Borussia Dortmund defensive midfielder has drawn comparisons to Sergio Busquets and is a long-term target for City and Barça
Barcelona vs Deportivo: LaLiga

Barça and Manchester City to go toe-to-toe for Julian Weigl
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA AFP

Although Barcelona have been striving to tie down their current crop of stars to long-term contracts, providing a drain on the club’s limited financial resources, there are areas in which the squad needs reinforcing despite the flurry of signings the club sanctioned in the summer transfer window.

While there will be no major business in January, Luis Enrique and sporting director Robert Fernández have been working towards identifying players that can fit the Barcelona style of play.

Weigl in the frame

Emerging as a key target is Borussia Dortmund defensive midfielder Julian Weigl. The 21-year-old is seen by Barça as the perfect back-up to the overworked Sergio Busquets and, given his age, an eventual replacement for the 28-year-old Spain international.

André Gomes, a summer acquisition from Valencia, has filled in in the anchor position and although Sergi Roberto can also be deployed there, Barcelona are seeking a potential world-class defensive midfielder to increase their cover in that area.

Pep Guardiola also keen

The reports Barcelona have collated on the Germany international have been impressive, but unfortunately for the Camp Nou board they are not the only club keeping a close eye on the player. Manchester City are also in the market for a player of Weigl’s profile and Pep Guardiola is a confirmed admirer of the midfielder he saw at close quarters last season while at Bayern Munich.

Weigl signed a contract extension to 2021 recently but both Barcelona and City are prepared to present succulent offers to prise him from the Allianz Arena. In that case, City will be a formidable foe given their deeper pockets but Barcelona will hope their pedigree will provide a lure to the player.