Barcelona continue to build for the future with Lenglet signing

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Barcelona have stepped up their efforts to boost their squad ahead of the 2018-19 season, by signing Clement Lenglet from La Liga rivals Sevilla.

The Catalan club have already lost midfield pair Andres Iniesta and Paulinho already this summer, and manager Ernesto Valverde knows that they both need to be replaced.

So far he has continued his policy of signing young players – to supplement the experienced quality of his squad.

Last summer he signed Gerard Deulofeu – who has since departed to Watford on a permanent deal – Nelson Semedo and Ousmane Dembele, all under 25 – along with Philippe Coutinho, at 26.

Ahead of this campaign he has brought in 21-year old Brazilian Arthur Melo from Gremio – and now Lenglet, who started 67 games in a season and a half for Sevilla.

Defence was not Sevilla’s strong point last season, however Lenglet stood out with calmness and an excellent ability to man mark.

His arrival at the Nou Camp has prompted suggestions that Yerry Mina could be set for an exit, after just six months with the club.

However the reality is that Valverde is likely to use both players – either as part of a back three, alongside Samuel Umtiti – or hasten the replacement of Gerard Pique.

Pique has been instrumental to the success of Barcelona over the past decade, but at 31, he and the club know that he is entering the final stages of his career.

Lenglet also offers flexibility – as he can play at left back – and with the correct environment around him at Barcelona, possibly in a defensive midfield role.

It is clear that Valverde is building for the future – with Mina, Lenglet, Semedo, Sergi Roberto and Umtiti all set to see plenty of game time next season.

Coutinho has been touted as the heir to Iniesta in midfield – although time will tell if that can be the case – and the former Athletic Bilbao manager will also give a second chance to Denis Suarez, who has had an injury disrupted first two seasons with the club.

Further additions are expected before the season starts, and they are all likely to be under 25, as Valverde believes his side has the necessary experience in his squad – but youth is needed.

Barcelona so often tends to be the club that La Liga’s best prospects end up at, after breakthrough campaigns elsewhere, and Carlos Soler from Valencia and Samu Castillejo could be options.

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