Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso is being considered by Barcelona as a possible long-term replacement for Gerard Pique, Goal understands.
The World Cup winner at Camp Nou is set to turn 32 in February 2019 and the Blaugrana believe a man currently at Stamford Bridge is capable of one day filling a void at the heart of their defence.
The versatile Alonso does have experience of playing as a centre-back from his time at Serie A side Fiorentina, but he has never operated there under Antonio Conte at Chelsea since completing a £23 million move in August 2016.
He has impressed in England in a wing-back role, with his efforts in 2017-18 earning him a place in the Premier League PFA Team of the Year .
Alonso has also been drafted into the senior Spain squad for the first time on the back of consistent outings across English and European competition, with Julen Lopetegui handing him a debut against Argentina in March.
The 27-year-old is now in contention for a seat on the plane to this summer’s World Cup finals in Russia, where he could be given further opportunities to impress.
Barca will be among the interested observers of a man who may soon be given the chance to follow in the footsteps of his father, who graced the books at Camp Nou in the 1980s.
Alonso, who is a product of Real Madrid’s academy system – the club his grandfather once represented – is considered by those in Catalunya to boast the required height, ball skills and tactical awareness to slip seamlessly into the Blaugrana fold.
Chelsea, though, are prepared to resist any approaches and the interest from Barca could lead to them putting improved terms to a man already under contract in west London until 2021.
If that happens, then those at Camp Nou have several other options to turn to, with Ajax’s talented teenager Matthijs de Ligt another of those to have figured on their transfer radar.
Additional reporting by Ignasi Oliva in Barcelona.