Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde suggests his side will not sign centre-back in January until after the World Cup in Russia in 2018 despite Yerry Mina links.

The Spaniard has four players to cover central defence in the form of Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Javier Mascherano and Thomas Vermaelen.

However, it has been reported that Barca are looking to strengthen the position further for the second half of the season after the new boss previously demanded in the summer that the club should sign Inigo Martinez from Real Sociedad to fill the gap left by the departure of Jeremy Mathieu.

The Catalans have first refusal on a deal worth approximately €9m (£7.9m, $10.5m) to sign Yerry Mina from Palmeiras which could be activated either in January or next summer.

Last week, the centre-back’s agent and uncle issued an ultimatum to the La Liga giants following suggestions that Valverde was having second thoughts over bringing him in during the middle point of the season.

It has been said that the Spanish boss would rather wait until the summer to sign the Colombian international and that Barca would only do so in January if the former Arsenal centre-back leaves the Nou Camp.

Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras defender Yerry Mina

Valverde has now confirmed those suggestions, even after the he was forced to promote second-team defender David Costas to his squad to his former side Athletic Club Bilbao at the weekend due to the injuries suffered by Mascherano and Vermaelen.

“I think that with four centre-backs in the squad is enough. Right now we have four and Vermaelen is yet to play in La Liga. We have four players for two positions,” Valverde said in a press conference ahead of the Champions League clash with Olympiacos.

“Another thing would be if one of them is not here [because someone leaves in January] but in principle we have four centre-backs and we think that we can pull forward with them [until the end of the campaign].”

Vermaelen has only registered one appearance for Barca in the Copa del Rey since returning to Barcelona in the summer following an unsuccessful loan spell at AS Roma.

However, Valverde has still managed to form a strong backline with the other available centre-back, with his having only conceded three goals in their opening 10 La Liga games.

Barcelona’s defence stats as collated by WhoScored have helped the club emerge as the main favourites to win the La Liga title this season as they are already four points ahead of Valencia and eight in front of reigning champions Real Madrid and arch-rivals Atletico Madrid.

Valverde’s men at defence as an high rating of above 7.2 per with Sergio Roberto ranking 7.7 in place of Mascherano and Jordi Alba 7.5 in place of Vermaelen.

Barcelona’s best performing player at defense. (credit:

But Valverde believes that is is still too soon to make such prediction, pointing out that Zindine Zidane‘s side 2-1 defeat to league debutante Girona proves that they could also drop points against any team.

“It is a very difficult competition. We suffered at San Mames, Real Madrid lost at Girona, Atletico dropped points with Villarreal and Valencia won narrowly at Alaves. Every point matters,” Valverde said.

“We are worried about every rival and at the same time about anyone. We have to focus on ourselves. It is still soon. These gaps are not definitive and it’s still very early. The natural title rivals are Real Madrid and Atletico but you can’t forget Valencia who are only four points behind us and Sevilla. It’s important to worry about all of them but also to focus on ourselves.”