With Thomas Vermaelen set to undergo surgery on Tuesday and expected to be sidelined for between four and six months, Luis Enrique has confirmed at a press conference that the club does not intend to strengthen at centre-back during the January transfer window.
Vermaelen, a summer signing from Arsenal, has yet to make an appearance for Barca and could now miss the entire season as he is to undergo surgery on a thigh problem.
Barca have been handed a transfer ban by FIFA, imposed for breaking youth transfer rules, but have appealed and the case will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Dec. 5. CAS says it will give a fast-track verdict before the transfer window opens in January
“Injuries are unfortunately part of professional football, because it’s a tough game with lots of physical contact. That’s been Thomas’ case since he joined the club. We understand that surgery is the best solution to get him fit and playing for the team. The team are fine. We don’t intend to strengthen in that position”.
Enrique then went on to talk about Barca’s next opponents in Valencia:
“Valencia are on another level this season, win or lose, this game won’t prove decisive”.
As well as the health of Andres Iniesta:
“Iniesta is fine. He’s improved a lot and trained with the rest of the team over the past few days. Now we have to be careful. I always miss any player who is out injured, and Iniesta is so much more than just a player”.