By 90Min
October 15, 2018

Barcelona are set to be without defender Thomas Vermaelen for close to six weeks, after the Belgium international picked suffered a hamstring injury during les Diables Rouges' UEFA Nations League win over Switzerland.

Posting the news on their official Twitter page, the Catalan giants confirmed the extent of the former Arsenal man's injury. The news will come as a great blow to Barça boss Ernesto Valverde, who has seen his defence struggle in the early stages of the season. Samuel Umtiti is  also currently out with a knee injury, leaving few quality options to play in central defence.

Barcelona are believed to be hopeful that Vermaelen will return in time to face title rivals Atlético Madrid at the end of November, but are likely to be without Umtiti until the new year. Veteran defender Gerard Piqué has been in poor form so far this season, and Valverde will now have to pair him with relatively inexperienced options such as former Sevilla man Clément Lenglet.

The opening weeks of La Liga have been far from the usual two horse race, and both Barça and their fierce rivals Real Madrid have struggled to find consistency. Sevilla are currently top of the table, however, just six points separate the top 12 sides in the division after many sides have experienced a turbulent start to the campaign.

In other news, Barcelona have reportedly earmarked two potential candidates as long-term successors for tenacious forward Luis Suárez. Lille star Nicolas Pépé and Genoa's Krzysztof Piątek are believed to be top of Ernesto Valverde's shortlist, as the club look to sign an affordable up-and-coming star, as oppose to splashing the big bucks on an established talent.

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