Ezequiel Garay has emerged as the latest player to be linked with FC Barcelona, who are desperate for defensive reinforcements in January.

According to El Chiringuito, Barcelona have identified Ezequiel Garay as a potential target. The Argentine centre-back is one of many players to be linked with a move to Catalonia ahead of the upcoming January transfer window, as the club grows desperate for a defensive stopgap following the injury to Gerard Pique.

Barcelona’s hunt for a new central defender has been accentuated by Pique’s knee injury against Atletico Madrid that could potentially keep him out for the majority of the campaign. It doesn’t bode well for Koeman, who has Clement Lenglet, the injury-prone Samuel Umtiti and the inexperienced Ronald Araujo as the only other defensive options at his disposal.

It appears Barcelona’s primary target in the January transfer window is former La Masia graduate Eric Garcia. However, there are doubts whether Manchester City will be ready to offload him in the winter, especially following their theatrics during the summer transfer window.

As a result, the Catalans have now identified a series of potential alternatives, most of who are quite experienced at the highest level of football, unlike Garcia. As such, Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is believed to be among the players courted by Ronald Koeman so far this season. And Garay is the latest name to be linked with a move to Camp Nou.

epaselect epa04798232 Argentina's Ezequiel Garay (L) fights for the ball with Paraguay's Nelson Valdez during the Copa America 2015 Group B soccer match between Argentina and Paraguay, at Estadio La Portada de La Serena in La Serena, Chile, 13 June 2015. EPA/JUAN CARLOS CARDENAS

Garay’s international experience could be useful for Barca. (Photo by EPA/JUAN CARLOS CARDENAS)

Garay, who is currently a free-agent, saw out his contract at Valencia in the summer while he was recovering from an injury. It was a part of the club’s summer overhaul following the Coronavirus crisis that forced them to wave goodbye to many of their players, including the centre-back.

Garay seems like a viable option for the Catalans as the ex-Valencia star is one of Argentina’s most experienced centre-backs right now. He has appeared in over 200 La Liga matches while winning 32 caps for La Albiceleste. It appears he also shares a good relationship with Lionel Messi, who might have played a key role in strengthening Barca’s interest in Garay.

The 34-year-old does have an interesting and a perhaps questionable history though, having played for Real Madrid from 2008 to 2011, making a total of 31 competitive appearances. So his potential move to Barcelona certainly won’t go down well with the Whites, although it is needless to say Garay himself will enjoy playing alongside Messi.

Unfortunately for him though, the likelihood of this transfer taking place in January remains low as Barcelona are likely to settle for other alternatives or perhaps succeed in their pursuit of Garcia. So it will be interesting to see how things unfold over the next couple of months.

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