BARCELONA

Barça: Mingueza and Umtiti don't meet required standard

A report by the club's technical department, which TV3 have had access to, reveals their concerns about both centre-backs and the need to sign Eric García.

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Ronald Koeman continues to request Eric García in spite of the negative response from some of the presidential candidates but the coach will keep asking until the winter transfer window closes on Monday. And it not just the coach who is keen to reinforce the back four but also the club's technical department, who have compiled a report signed by Ramon Planes, recommending that the club signs the Manchester City central defender so that the team can remain competitive at the highest level.

More than the need to bring in Eric García, the report, which TV3 have had access to, highlights the deficiencies which the team will have to cope with during the next few months with the current centre-backs. Barcelona have key games coming up, including the Champions League Last 16 tie against PSG. The document points out that Gerard Piqué “won't be available until April” in the best of cases while they expect Samuel Umtiti “to face difficulties playing highly demanding games - on top of the fact that he seems to be injury-prone; for which reason, it cannot be guaranteed that he will be fit and available at key moments of the season”.

The report goes on to add that, as things stand, there are only two central defenders in the squad who offer any kind of guarantees as Barcelona continue to battle in three competitions - Clément Lenglet and Ronald Araujo. Youth team graduate Óscar Mingueza, is viewed as a reasonable alternative but only "for games of moderate demands" but not for “highly important matches” because he simply isn't ready to make that step. Other options in the B team have already been discarded because “both Santi Ramos Mingo and Igor [Gomes] are out injured”.

With that argument, the report states the need to sign Eric García during the current transfer window: “This is an opportunity in the market which we cannot afford to not take advantage of under the current set of circumstances. It would be a mistake not to take this opportunity; it is a simple question of responsibility that we feel obliged to request this signing”.

Also included in the document is a section which recommends that three players are sold on during the summer transfer window - Junior Firpo, Samuel Umtiti and Neto Murara. It suggests the possibility that three players from the B team could step up to the first team squad, in a move that would reduce the wages bill and continue to rejuvenate the squad; there was a special mention in this regard for left-back, Alejandro Balde.