Jorge Cuenca could be called up to Barcelona first-team squad

Barcelona needs defensive reinforcements immediately

Samuel Umtiti has picked up a knock that could require surgery and potentially keep him out for the rest of the year, while Thomas Vermaelen hobbled off the pitch in Belgium’s 2-1 win over Switzerland in the UEFA Nations League.

Barcelona will be without two centre-backs in the near future and it does not bode well for Ernesto Valverde, whose side has been very leaky at the back, conceding 7 goals in the last 5 games. There will be no backup to Gerard Piqué and Clément Lenglet.

Club technical secretary Éric Abidal has entered preliminary talks with Ajax over 19-year old Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt, but if he joins, he would do so only in January, which is still 2 months away. The management needs to find a short-term solution to this problem.

Jorge Cuenca has been a crucial part of the Barça B side since he joined from Alcorcón for a fee of €400k last season. Till date, the 18-year old centre-back has made 29 appearances for the B team, and made 2 appearances for the senior team in pre-season.

If Ernesto Valverde were to call up a player from the B team, Cuenca would be the ideal option. He understands the club setup, and also has experience at the international level, making 7 appearances for the Spanish Under-19 team.

But if Jorge Cuenca is too important to Xavi García Pimienta’s side, his defensive partner, Chumi is also an option. The 19-year old centre-back was one of the key players in the club’s UEFA Youth League campaign, alongside the likes of Riqui Puig and Abel Ruiz.

Chumi has made 6 appearances in the Segunda División B this season, helping the side stay 6th in the table. He has a lot of experience at the continental level, and has made 2 appearances for the Under-17 team. But Jorge Cuenca is a safer bet than Chumi.