Barcelona take Valencia defender Murillo on loan

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The Spanish giants have agreed a deal to take the Colombia international on loan, with an option to purchase the centre-back in the summer

Barcelona have agreed a deal to sign defender Jeison Murillo on loan from Valencia.

The centre-back will initially join the club on a short-term deal at the start of the January transfer window, with Barca holding the option to buy the defender for €25 million (£22.6m/$28.7m) at the end of the campaign.

Murillo has endured something of a nomadic career thus far, with Barcelona set to become his eighth club, either permanent or short-term.

He spent the 2017-18 season on loan at Valencia from Inter before the Spanish club made the move permanent, but he has played just once thus far this season.

Murillo will now help to plug a hole in Barca's defence, with French centre-back Samuel Umtiti and Belgian stopper Thomas Vermaelen both struggling with injuries.

Vermaelen will be out for around a month , while Umtiti's return date is currently unkown.

Indeed, he has been sent to Qatar for treatment, following "a plan of conservative treatment".

Manager Ernesto Valverde had initially ruled out the prospect of signing a defender in the January transfer window, but it appears that plans have changed.

Jeison Murillo Valencia 2018-19

Ahead of Barcelona's clash with Levante, Valverde said: "Umtiti could recover and that would be great news for us and would mean that we would have four centre-backs for the rest of the season, although three are left-footed.

"We will know more about what happens with him in a little while, but we are Barcelona and want to have a team who can respond. As I said, we'll see what happens but I'm happy to manage with what I have."

The Chelsea defender, Andreas Christensen, has been routinely mooted as a potential signing for Barca, with talks reportedly already underway between the two clubs.

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However, it appears any move will now have to wait until the summer.

Barca are currently top of La Liga, three points clear of second-placed Sevilla, and five ahead of bitter rivals Real Madrid.

Their final Liga match of 2018 will take place on Saturday when they host Celta Vigo while Murillo will be in line for his debut when they face Getafe on January 6.

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