Barcelona have reportedly set their sights on 23-year-old Juventus defender Merih Demiral over a possible move this summer.

According to a report by Spanish publication AS, Barcelona’s central defensive options for the summer transfer window are beefing up. The latest player to have emerged on the Catalan giants’ radar is 23-year-old Juventus defender Merih Demiral.

Demiral joined Juventus from Sassuolo in the summer of 2019, widely regarded as one of the most promising young defenders plying their trade in Serie A at the time. However, in the two years that have followed, the Turkish international has struggled to make much of an impression owing to a spate of injuries that have reduced his game-time considerably.

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To date, the 23-year-old has managed just 32 appearances for Juventus and is currently behind the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Matthijs de Ligt in the pecking order for central defenders. Despite that, though, Demiral’s stock is as high as ever, which is suggested by the interest being shown in him by clubs like Barcelona.

Barcelona have already signed one centre-back this summer in Eric Garcia. However, the Spanish international is likely to be a long-term successor for Gerard Pique. With neither Samuel Umtiti nor Clement Lenglet managing to convince enough this past season, the French duo faces an uncertain future at Camp Nou.

If either or both the French defenders end up being offloaded, Barcelona would need a replacement in the form of a player who is adept at playing on the left-hand side of a central defensive setup. To that end, Barcelona have been linked with several economical options like Alessio Romagnoli but are also keeping their options open.

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Indeed, the Blaugrana have also been showing an interest in Stefan de Vrij, Caglar Soyuncu and others, with Demiral fitting in such a category. For now, though, Barcelona are prioritising other positions in the squad before they return to centre-back, which is only likely to be bolstered if they can offload Umtiti.

What now remains to be seen is if the interest in Demiral transforms into something serious. For now, Barcelona appear to have set their sights on the 23-year-old Turkish defender, who will be raring to improve his fortunes next season after a couple of difficult campaigns in Turin.

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