Barcelona are reportedly plotting a swoop for Real Betis’ Algerian centre-back Aissa Mandi, who is set to become a free agent in the summer.

According to a report from Spanish publication Fichajes, Barcelona have set their sights on Real Betis defender Aissa Mandi as they look to bolster their options in the backline ahead of the new season.

Mandi has been with Real Betis since 2016 having signed from boyhood club Stade Reims in France and has, year after year, been one of the Verdiblancos‘ steadiest players. Till date, the 29-year-old has made 173 appearances for the La Liga outfit, producing eight goals and four assists, while he also has accumulated 60 caps for the Algerian national team.

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Mandi has had a solid 2020/21 campaign, during which he featured 32 times across all competitions, scoring three goals and helping Manuel Pellegrini’s side achieve a top-six finish in La Liga. However, his time at Estadio Benito Villamarin is drawing to an end, with the centre-back’s contract expiring in a matter of weeks.

And, this has seemingly alerted Barcelona, who are looking to reinforce their defence in the summer transfer window. Gerard Pique is in the final phase of his glorious career while Samuel Umtiti has been largely unreliable for a number of years now, due to his injury record. Clement Lenglet, meanwhile, has also endured a sharp dip in performance levels this term.

This has resulted in Barcelona considering the prospect of offloading both the French centre-halves in the summer, with Umtiti’s services already being offered to clubs across Europe, including Liverpool. So, there will be room for the arrival of at least one centre-back if not two at Camp Nou in the upcoming transfer window.

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Eric Garcia is expected to seal a free transfer from Manchester City and Mandi has also, now, emerged as a viable target for the Catalan giants. The fact that the 29-year-old has been in La Liga for half a decade now and has plenty of experience at this level, coupled with his availability on a free transfer is of appeal to Barcelona, considering their current financial condition.

Mandi would certainly add value with his experience to a backline consisting of youngsters such as Ronald Araujo and Oscar Mingueza, should Barcelona make a move for him this summer. It now remains to be seen if the Blaugrana do approach the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations winner once his deal with Real Betis runs out.

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