New Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova has given his backing to pursuing a move for Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen.
Pep Guardiola’s replacement wants sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta to step up attempts to sign a central defender after missing out on top target Thiago Silva, who has signed a new deal at AC Milan.
Catalan newspaper Sport says Athletic Bilbao’s Javi Martinez is the first alternative.
But, with both Manchester clubs and Arsenal also admiring the 23-year-old, his club are resisting offers below his £32million release clause.
The two alternatives are reported to be Arsenal’s versatile 26-year-old Vermaelen and Bayern Munich’s Holger Badstuber.
The club have also previously closely monitored Chelsea’s David Luiz.