Barcelona are reportedly looking to sign Bayer Leverkusen defender Panagiotis Retsos as the long-term successor to superstar Gerard Pique.

According to Spanish publication Don Balon, Barcelona are looking to lay down the succession plans for their superstar defender Gerard Pique. The Catalans are looking to sign Bayer Leverkusen youngster Panagiotis Retsos as a candidate to succeed the Spaniard at Barcelona.

Panagiotis Retsos has had an interesting journey so far. The player, born in South Africa, has had his footballing education in Greece, mainly at Super League giants Olympiacos. The defender made the senior grade in the 2015-16 campaign and featured in 40 senior matches for the club before being snapped up by Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2017.

Retsos has become an instant hit in Bundesliga, appearing in 14 league matches for Bayer Leverkusen so far, with 2 assists to his name as well. His performances are now starting to attract interest from top clubs, with Barcelona touted to have entered the fray for the 19-year-old.

At 19, the player has already made his senior international debut for Greece, opting to represent the country despite being eligible for South Africa as well. The 6ft 1inch lanky defender’s main attribute is his ability to play all across the back four, with centre-back being his preferred position.

Barcelona do have Samuel Umtiti, Gerard Pique, Yerry Mina as the three main options available at Ernesto Valverde’s disposal, with Thomas Vermaelen touted to be heading towards the exit door in the summer. The Catalans have been looking at Matthijs de Ligt to reinforce their defence as well.

The report suggests that the manager is looking to bring in a player who can be involved in some capacity in the first-team setup from the get-go. But, the main reason for bringing in a centre-back is the prospect of taking over from Gerard Pique when the time comes.

While Pique has signed a contract extension, his performances show that his age could be starting to catch up to him and a replacement in the starting lineup could be needed in a year or two. Retsos has already garnered experience in a top league like Bundesliga and has made a mark in the international scene as well.

The player could be a brilliant option worth considering for Barcelona and a defender who could be available without much competition, compared to their other targets. Retsos is a prospect worth keeping an eye on, according to Valverde. Who knows, the Bayer Leverkusen youngster could become a Barcelona player in the future, near or otherwise.