By ESPNSTAR.com staff
The Catalan side's attempt to buy AC Milan's Thiago Silva has been well-documented by sports media outlets since the turn of the year. However, the Brazilian recently signed a contract extension with the Rossoneri, putting an end to a potential move to Spain.
Nonetheless, Vilanova remains eager to sign a central defender, with captain Carles Puyol growing increasingly injury prone with age. The newly appointed manager is believed to have singled out Vermaelen as the next best choice after Silva, and has communicated his desire to Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizaretta.
The board of directors at the Catalan side also consider Vermaelen to be the most accessible central defensive target, as Vilanova's other option, Athletic Bilbao's Javi Martinez, has been priced at 32 million Euros by his club.
Other players formerly considered by Barcelona include Chelsea's David Luiz and Bayern Munich's Holger Badstuber, but the Catalans have chosen Vermaelen as the player they will aggressively pursue.