Defending La Liga champions are facing a tough run of fixtures in domestic and European action, just as bitter rivals Real Madrid are preparing a late bid for the league title.
Ernesto Valverde’s side have drawn their last two league games, against Valencia and Athletic Bilbao, dropping four key points, in the same fortnight that Santiago Solari’s team have beaten Alaves and Atletico Madrid.
That has nudged Los Blancos ahead of their city rivals as the Catalan side’s main challengers, and the current leaders will be looking over their shoulder.
Barcelona have made their first move of the La Liga January 2019 transfer window, by bringing in 26 year old defender Jeison Murillo on a loan dea until the end of the season, from Valencia.
Colombian international Murillo has appeared just once in league action for Marcelino’s side so far this season, after joining from Italian side Inter Milan in the summer.
Murillo initially signed on a two year loan contract at the start of last season, with an obligation for Valencia to buy inserted into the details the deal.
Valencia exercised the purchase option at the start of the season, after he made 17 La Liga appearances in 2017-18, as they returned to the Top Four in Spain. However he has become more and more of a fringe player this season, and now Barcelona have accepted a purchase option on him at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.
Samuel Umtiti is going to have ‘conservative’ treatment on his persistent knee problems in a bid to cure them, rather than resorting to surgery.
The Barcelona centre-back has clearly been short of his best this season, and one can deduce that it’s due in no small part to those ongoing issues.
To that end, it’s surprising that the French World Cup winner, when the problem first became apparent, didn’t immediately go under the knife and ensure the problem was resolved once and for all. Continue reading →
Barcelona have confirmed that defender Samuel Umtiti will not undergo knee surgery, but the La Liga holders have confirmed that he will remained sidelined with the issue.
Umtiti had not played for the Catalan side since September 26th, prior to their 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid last weekend.
However manager Ernesto Valverde brought the French international back into the fold for the crunch tie against Diego Simeone’s side, despite uncertainty over his fitness, due to other defenders being ruled out.