Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has expressed his delight with the signing of Jeison Murillo. “He ticks boxes.”
Murillo arrives on loan with a €25m option to buy after failing to break back into Valencia’s first team from a long-term injury, and Valverde was happy Barca had landed a defender of the Colombian’s pedigree.
“This match has a lot at stake for Celta, who usually have good games here,” the Coach said at a Press conference for Saturday’s final Liga clash of 2018 with Celta Vigo.
“We couldn’t win at Camp Nou in the League last season [the game finished 2-2], and they have great players and a great structure.
“It’s also an important match because we’re ending the year. We want to maintain, at least, our lead over our rivals and we want to do it for our fans.
“We’re in a delicate moment with regards to centre-backs. We’ve practically been able to count on only two [Pique and Lenglet] in the last couple of months after the injuries to Umtiti and Vermaelen.
“We understood that we needed reinforcements, although we can call upon our B centre-backs if we need them.
“We wanted someone who had experience of La Liga or at least European football, and Murillo ticks that box.
“There are only a few out there who meet those requirements, so we think it worked out well for us because we believe he’s a great player.
“We know Murillo wasn’t playing for Valencia, otherwise he couldn’t have come in. We had to take lots of constraints into account.
“If we had €100m to spend, we could’ve brought in a player starting for their club... but that wasn’t the case.
“Still, that doesn’t mean we don’t have faith in Murillo and that he can’t help us.”
However, the 54-year-old was less optimistic about Samuel Umtiti’s return from a knee injury.
“I’d like to have an answer for his return but I don’t have one,” he added.
“He’s in permanent contact with our doctors and he’ll join back up with us in a few days. He seems certain to go away again, but that’s only an assumption on my part.
“It mustn’t be taken for face value because I don’t know how his knee is. I’m not a doctor, neither do I know what’s going to happen.
“I’m sorry to be so misinformed. All I know is that we have to be prepared.”