Barcelona are reportedly considering making a swoop for Real Betis defender Aissa Mandi, who will be out of contract at the end of the season.
According to a report from Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are plotting to secure the signing of Real Betis centre-back Aissa Mandi on a free transfer in the upcoming summer window.
Heading into the summer transfer window, Barcelona are looking to reinforce their defence amid concerns regarding the fitness issues of Samuel Umtiti. In fact, there is a good chance that the Frenchman will be allowed to leave at the end of the season to make room for a new arrival before next season.
Eric Garcia is all set to join Barcelona on a free transfer despite late attempts from Arsenal and Chelsea to hijack the move. However, Barcelona would still be open to adding another centre-back, preferably one that is left-footed given as Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo, Oscar Mingueza as well as Garcia are all right-footed, with Clement Lenglet being the only left-footed centre-back other than the exit-bound Umtiti.
This has led to interest in the services of Marcos Senesi, while Jorge Cuenca is also being considered as an option. Amidst this, another name that has popped up on Barcelona’s radar is that of Aissa Mandi. The 29-year-old is a right-footed centre-back but can play in any position across the backline which has attracted the Catalan giants.
Mandi has been with Real Betis since 2016, having arrived from boyhood club Stade Reims. A vastly experienced customer, the defender has close to 150 appearances in La Liga. He has been a regular fixture in the ongoing season under Manuel Pellegrini, scoring three goals and setting up one more in 24 league outings.
What makes the Algerian an even more enticing target is that he is in the final weeks of his contract with current club Real Betis and will be a free agent once the season gets over. Given Barcelona’s financial woes, the prospect of signing an experienced centre-back for no transfer fee is surely something that will appeal to the Blaugrana.
It now remains to be seen if Barcelona decide to act on their reported interest in Mandi or continue with their pursuit of securing an out-and-out left-footed centre-back in the upcoming transfer window.