According to Spanish outlet El Gol Digital, Barcelona and Liverpool will go head-to-head to secure the services of Aissa Mandi in the summer transfer window. Mandi moved to Real Betis back in the summer of 2016 from Ligue 1 outfit Reims. The defender has gone on to become one of the most complete centre-backs in the league.
The Algerian defender has enjoyed an impressive season in La Liga, playing at the heart of the defense for the Andalusian club. He has been an important player for the Verdiblancos, racking up over 172 appearances since his move to Spain.
However, with his contract expiring this summer, Mandi has decided he will not extend his deal with Real Betis to look for a new challenge. This has put several clubs on high alert, including Barcelona and Liverpool, who have endured a patchy season because of poor defensive performances.
Barcelona and Liverpool are looking to bolster their defense this summer
Both Barcelona and Liverpool have been in the market for a while in search of solid defensive options. Barcelona are looking for a potential replacement for the aging Gerard Pique, who has been a key man at the heart of their defense. The Spaniard is at the tail end of his illustrious career during which he has amassed over 32 major trophies.
Liverpool, on the other hand, have endured an injury-hit season, particularly at the defensive end of the pitch. Leading defenders Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip remain on the sidelines through injury. Considering the shaky start Ozan Kabak has made to life in England, the Schalke 04 loanee is unlikely to be signed on a permanent basis.
The Reds were heavily linked with the RB Leipzig centre-back pair of Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate. However, the former opted to sign for Bayern Munich while the German outlet revealed the latter would remain at the club.
With all of this taken into consideration, snapping up Aissa Mandi will be an excellent piece of business for either Barcelona and Liverpool. At 29 years of age, the Algerian will bring both experience and solidity to either side's backline and can be signed on a free transfer.
Italian powerhouse AC Milan are also said to be interested in Mandi. It remains to be seen if either Barcelona and Liverpool will make a move for the defender once his contract expires in June.