Valverde dismisses centre-back signing amid talk of Christensen loan

The Denmark international has been linked with a January switch to Barcelona, but the Barcelona boss does not appear desperate for such a deal

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde is not interested in signing a new centre-back in the January transfer window, despite talk of a move for Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen.

A report in Sport on Saturday claimed the Catalans have made a loan offer for Christensen, who has made just one Premier League appearance under Maurizio Sarri this season, as part of a contingency plan to cover for the injury to Samuel Umtiti.

The France international is sidelined with a knee problem and Barca are said to be keen not to be left short-handed in defence, especially given Thomas Vermaelen’s persistent injuries.

However, Valverde does not appear desperate for a new signing provided Umtiti’s recovery proceeds as planned.

“We want four centre-backs who can play,” he told a news conference ahead of Sunday’s trip to Levante.

“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.”

Christensen’s father and agent claimed in October that he will look to secure a move for the Denmark international if he does not earn more playing time at Chelsea.

However, when asked about a possible January exit, the 22-year-old told Sky Sports: “Difficult question. No, I don’t think so.

“Things are different from last season. I played a lot of games [last season] but this season it hasn’t been like that. It’s always difficult for a player but we’ll see what happens.”

Barca take on Levante looking for a win that will restore their three-point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top of the league table.

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