KEY POINTS

  • Barcelona want to sign Man City's Eric Garcia in January
  • Their back-up option is Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger
  • Chelsea signed Rudiger for $44 million from Roma in 2017

FC Barcelona reportedly could sign Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger in the January transfer window.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard prefers the duo of Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma at the heart of his defense; as a result, Rudiger has fallen down Chelsea's pecking order in the Premier League, reported Spanish publication SPORT. With the European championships coming next year, Rudiger will need more game time if he wants a call up from the German national team.

Ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, Barcelona are expected to enter the market with an aim to buy a central defender and Manchester City's Eric Garcia is their top target. The La Liga giants did not sign a defender in the recently ended summer window because they wanted to try a final shot at acquiring Garcia in January.

The SPORT report has also stated that if Barcelona are unable to sign Garcia in January, the club is looking to acquire a defender who is experienced and can join the side immediately. In addition to that, Barcelona want to have the player on loan only for six months and are not looking to extend the contract unless the officials consider the player as a good option for the club's present and future. The Catalans are believed to have identified Chelsea's Rudiger as their back-up option for Garcia.

Chelsea, who last won the Premier League in the 2016-17 season, are understood to be willing to cash in on Rudiger, having signed him from Roma for $44 million in 2017.

Tammy Abraham (top) celebrates after scoring Chelsea's equaliser against Sheffield United Chelsea Photo: POOL / PETER CZIBORRA

Speaking about his future, Rudiger told The Athletic last month, "The club didn't tell me that it was absolutely necessary for me to find a new club and that they definitely didn't have me in their plans for the next few months. I also turned down one or two options myself. I wasn't prepared to pack it all in simply because I had been left out a few times. I enjoy living in London and like being at Chelsea."

"Naturally, I looked at a couple of options in the two weeks before the end of the transfer window. There was a possibility of a loan deal, in order for me to get more game time. Due to many different reasons and the shortage of time, nothing materialized in the end," he said.

While Liverpool's Joel Matip is also one of Barcelona's targets for next summer window, it is understood that the Premier League champions are not willing to part ways with the 29-year-old following the long-term injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.