First-place Barcelona is currently looking to the Premier League to revamp their defense.
According to the Daily Mail, Liverpool’s Daniel Agger and Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen are seen as possible replacements for Carles Puyol.
The Belgium-born Vermaelen has made 91 appearances and scored 13 goals for the Gunners since his transfer from Ajax. Currently five points behind Chelsea for Champions League qualification, Vermaelen leads an Arsenal backline that have conceded just 32 goals this season, fourth best in the Premier League.
Agger has spent his entire Premier League career with Liverpool, making 147 appearances since 2006. He was tied to Manchester City in August, but no move materialized during the summer transfer window.
Both defenders would cost Barcelona as much as £16 million on the transfer market.
In the last two weeks, the Catalans suffered two consecutive losses to Real Madrid, falling 3-1 in the Copa del Rey final on Feb. 26, and 2-1 last week in La Liga play.
In the Copa del Rey, Puyol's fall while defending Madrid’s Angel Di Maria led to a goal by Cristiano Ronaldo, and may have sparked Barcelona’s plans to rebuild.
With characteristic grit and determination, the 34-year-old Puyol has worked his way up through Barcelona’s youth camp, and made the senior squad in 1999. Since then, he’s made 386 appearances and netted 11 goals, and has become a fan favorite for his hard work and trademark long hair.
There are some who believe Puyol's time with the Catalans is overdue, as he appears to be past his prime. Injuries may have also taken their toll on Puyol's value. Last year, he had arthroscopic knee surgery, and missed two months this season after suffering a dislocated elbow.
Barcelona’s next match is against Deportivo on Saturday at Camp Nou. The Catalans will host AC Milan in the second leg of the Round of 16 of Champions League. Barcelona lost the first leg at San Siro, 2-0.
Currently covering NBA, NFL, MLB, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, focusing on trades, controversy, and injury updates. Joined IB Times in August 2012.