Barcelona boss Tata Martino has identified Newell’s Old Boys goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman as the man to replace Victor Valdes at the Camp Nou.
Valdes recently reiterated that “there is no going back on my decision to leave at the end of next season” and Martino has asked Barca director of football Andoni Zubizarreta to monitor his former charge over the next 12 months.
Guzman, 27, earned the No 1 jersey under Martino with the Argentine outfit last season, at the expense of the previously untouchable Sebastian Peratta, and helped his team to the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores after saving two spot-kicks in a quarter-final penalty shootout against Boca Juniors.
At 6ft 3 ½ inches one of Guzman’s obvious main features is his height, although he is well known in Argentina for his distribution with the ball at his feet and his ability in one-on-one situations, something crucial for any Barcelona goalkeeper.
In a recent interview with the country’s Radio La Red, former Argentina central defender and a teammate of Martino’s in his playing days with Newell’s, Roberto Sensini, said if he had to pick a player from the club to go to Barca then it would be Guzman.
“He is a goalkeeper who is ideal for Barcelona’s style of football. I would like it if Barca took him,” said Sensini.
Mundo Deportivo reports that the Catalans have already agreed a deal to bring Liverpool’s Pepe Reina to the Camp Nou next summer – when Valdes will have fulfilled his contract – once he completes his 12-month loan spell with Napoli.
In addition, La Blaugrana reserve stopper Jose Manuel Pinto, 38, will leave the club at the end of the 2013-14 campaign after five seasons, while Borussia Monchengladbach youngster Tor Stegen is another believed to be under consideration.