Report Claims Barcelona Have Backed Out of Race for Lazio Star Leaving Liverpool as Favourites

?While Barcelona are on the lookout for new players in January, Lazio defender Stefan de Vrij is unlikely to be one of them, with reports claiming Ernesto Valverde’s side have been put off by his fitness issues amid competition from Liverpool.

Valverde has admitted that new recruits could be forthcoming in January with Colombian defender ?Yerry Mina, who plays for Palmeiras, the most likely to make the move to Catalonia. 

Copa Libertadores-winning midfielder Arthur is another player who has been heavily linked, after being spotted in a Barcelona shirt, while the 2015 Champions League holders pursuit of Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho is apparently not over either.

However, De Vrij who has been previously reported as being on Barcelona short list to provide additional defensive cover, amid doubts over Javier Mascherano and Thomas Vermaelen’s immediate futures, has now had his name struck off by the recruitment team, according to Sport.

On Thursday, the Catalan publication (via ?Sport Witness) claimed that De Vrij’s past injury troubles make him a risk not worth taking for Barça, who don’t want to end up with another Vermaelen (who has played just 28 times in all competitions since 2014) as they chase La Liga and Champions League glory.

SS Lazio v SSC Napoli - Serie A

25-year-old De Vrij is six months from the end of his current contract with Lazio and while he is rumoured to be on the verge of signing a new deal with the Rome club, nothing has been made official yet.

However, reports claim that his new deal with Lazio will include a relatively enticing €25m release clause, which could only encourage the likes of Liverpool, as they seek cheaper (and easier to acquire) alternatives to prime target Virgil van Dijk.

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