Gerard Pique’s cruciate knee ligament injury has prompted Barcelona to shift transfer targets from Lyon forward Memphis Depay to Manchester City defender Eric Garcia.
Spain international Pique is facing up to the prospect of months on the sidelines following confirmation from Barcelona that “Pique has a grade three sprain of the medial lateral ligament and a partial injury to the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.”
No timeframe has been set for his return, but a cruciate knee ligament injury would normally sideline a player for a number of months. With that in mind, Barcelona have shifted priorities in the January transfer window.
Depay had been sharply in focus at Camp Nou, as the Lyon star recently said: “Who wouldn't like to play there? They are one of the best teams in the world. Everyone would like to play there, but I'm not thinking about that.
"I don't know about Barca. The transfer market is not open. My mind isn't on that.
"I am trying to give my best, to play well in order to become a better player. There is a lot of speculation out there.”
However, the injury to Pique has prompted a shift in strategy - with Garcia now their priority in the January transfer window.
Barca have been on the trail of Garcia for some time, having failed to strike a deal earlier this year - with the Catalans unable to match City’s valuation.
Money remains the stumbling block for Barca. Finances are tight; they are working on a plan to cut their wage bill - and it seems certain that they will need to sell before making a purchase.
Potential sales will likely have to bring in a significant sum, as City turned down a bid in the region of €18 million (£16m/$21m) from Barca for Garcia in the summer.
Garcia could negotiate his exit on a free transfer, as his contract expires next summer, but Pique’s injury means they want to bring him to the club in the January transfer window.
If City do not budge in their valuation, Barca will have to dig deep to bring in a defender they feel they desperately need.