Barca set for transfer raid
By Mark Kendall. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Reports in Spain claim that Barcelona will attempt to land Arsenal midfielder Edu when the transfer window reopens in January.
The Catalan titans have been hit by major injury problems in recent weeks, having lost three players to long-term problems, and have now confirmed they will be entering the transfer market to sign a re-inforcement.
Thiago Motta, Gabri and Edmilson have all suffered serious knee ligament injuries and all three will be out for around six months.
Spanish league rules stipulate that clubs can sign replacements for long-term injury victims outside the transfer window.
Barca boss Frank Rijkaard had decided against bringing in any replacements until Edmilson became the third player to suffer serious injury last weekend in the victory over Numancia.
Barca director of sport Tkixi Beguiristain explained that because Motta and Edmilson both play in the same position, Rijkaard now felt cover was necessary.
"I have spoken with Rijkaard and we are now defining the profile of the player we need," he told BTV.
"The loss of Gabri was an important one, but we have another full back.
"In contrast, Motta and Edmilson play in the same position and we must look for alternatives.
"In the market there are solutions but we must not lower the quality of the squad.
"If we find the right player we will bring him, although the financial aspect will affect it."
Given that full back Silvinho is also currently sidelined, although only for around another couple of weeks, the Dutch coach now has only 14 fit out-field players in his first-team squad.
This has led the Barca boss to decide to dip into the transfer market for cover, and a defensive midfielder will be his target.
Rijkaard can bring in a free agent or a player at another Primera club almost immediately, or wait until January and bring in a player from a foreign league.
In both categories, the Catalans have identified two players and it is a question of how urgently Rijkaard feels he needs reinforcements.
In the first category Barca have pinpointed Brazilian Vagner, who annulled his contract with Celta Vigo last week, and Sevilla's Mexican international Gerardo Torrado who is currently out of favour at El Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan.
If they wait until the January transfer window then Arsenal star Edu and River Plate's exciting young prospect Javier Mascherano are the two names that top their wish-list.
Barca did issue a denial to skysports.com that they were interested in Edu, but their need for a replacement and the fact the Brazil international is refusing to sign a new contract at Highbury, has led them to rekindle their interest in a player they claim they were offered last summer.