June 20, 2024

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Two New Defenders Set to Join Barcelona Squad 

2 min read

In a promising turn of events, FC Barcelona is poised to welcome two fresh defenders into their ranks before the week draws to a close. Reports from both SPORT and Mundo Deportivo suggest that FC Barcelona’s head coach, Xavi Hernandez, is on the verge of bolstering his first-team squad with a pair of additions.

One of these prospective newcomers is Inigo Martinez, who arrived at Barca during the preseason on a free transfer from Athletic Club in Bilbao. Unfortunately, due to a lingering foot injury, he has been absent from official matches for the past four months. 

However, the wait might soon be over, as Martinez is anticipated to join Xavi’s squad in training this Wednesday and subsequently be registered for eligibility in the upcoming clash against Osasuna on September 3.

The need for reinforcements becomes more evident as Ronald Araujo finds himself sidelined due to an injury that is likely to keep him out of action until after September’s international break. This predicament places Martinez, a seasoned 32-year-old defender, in contention for valuable minutes in the central defense, alongside Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen.

It’s worth noting that Kounde played as a right back in the previous season, while Araujo took on that role during most of the preseason tour of the United States and in the 2023/2024 debut against Getafe, before his unfortunate injury during training.

Xavi’s persistent pursuit of a natural fit for the role may finally come to fruition in the coming days. SPORT suggests that Joao Cancelo’s loan move from Manchester City could receive confirmation as early as Thursday, while Mundo Deportivo predicts the development to transpire before the weekend.

However, it’s unlikely that Cancelo will be registered in time for Sunday’s away match against Villarreal. Similar to Martinez, he is expected to be match-fit for the subsequent fixture against Osasuna, marking the end of a nearly nine-month pursuit that began back in January.

Back then, Xavi had sought to secure Cancelo’s services to fortify his squad for the business end of the 2022/2023 season. However, a training ground dispute between Cancelo and his City boss, Pep Guardiola, led the player to make a temporary move to Bayern Munich instead.

Nonetheless, FC Barcelona’s determination to acquire the 29-year-old reignited this summer, and if Cancelo participates in at least 70% of their matches, the club is reportedly obligated to make his loan permanent for €30 million ($32.4 million) in a year’s time.

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