FC Barcelona over the last decade has made a powerhouse of themselves as a club and as a business. Having started with 1-0 Champions League final win over Arsenal in 2006 not only jumpstarted their glory years but also got the fear factor back in the team and hence became major threat in Europe.
Their two champions leagues in three years, defeating Manchester United in the final both the times, was probably the highlight of this run, and their second ever treble win in 2014, after winning the Champions League by defeating Juventus 3-1, can be called the end of that infamous time.
While some say that it all began when Pep Guardiola left the club, he left behind a Barcelona team that proved to be difficult to manage by three different managers, despite the trophies. After Gerardo Martina, the late Tito Vilanova and now Luis Enrique, it is Ernesto Valverde’s turn to introduce and execute his philosophy in this team. However, to do so he must bring in the players that Barcelona lacked last season, as well as the players that suits his own style of play. Hence here are the transfer targets that Barcelona should sign in order to get back to their best.
For those who don’t know, Nelson Somedo is a 23-year old Portuguese International who plays as a Right-back for Benfica. Having capped 43 appearances for Benfica, Somedo’s playing style is considered to be very similar to Barcelona’s former right back Dani Alves who now resides in Turin and plays for Juventus.
Over the course of the week, a lot of rumors and alleged reports suggested that the Arsenal right-back, Hector Bellerin, had already discussed and agreed personal terms with the Catalan side and a fee was set to be agree between the clubs, some of them even stating that Barcelona benchwarmer Arda Turan was part of the deal. However, later on, Bellerin, who is a La Masia graduate, shunned these rumors with a single tweet.
Hector Bellerin’s failed pursuit, however, does not mean that it is the end of the world. A right back is a major priority for Barcelona this season and Nelson Somedo is just the one for them. Known for his attacking prowess and dominating tackles, his playing style is quite reminiscent to that of Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia.
It has been a long journey for Brazilian man Phillipe Coutinho. A player who was ignored at Inter Milan, and resurrected by Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool, Coutinho has made a name for him self at the red side of Mersey Side, but so did Luis Suarez. Losing two players to Barcelona in three years would be a punch in the gut to Liverpool, however the Catalan team couldn’t care less. Speculations and rumors have been going on for months about Coutinho’s love for the Spanish side, and his Brazilian ally, Neymar. Jr, has played his part in it.
It is reported that Neymar allegedly seduced the idea of moving to Barcelona is Coutinho’s head, an offer the Liverpool player couldn’t resist. The situation would seem similar to that of Messi and Di maria, however, this one seems more likely, considering that di Maria was previously a Real Madrid player.
However, it despite the fact that the transfer is likely or unlikely to happen, one thing is for sure and this is that Coutinho would perfectly fit in the Valverde’s style of play as well as Barcelona’s, his chemistry with Messi, international team-mate Neymar and former Liverpool teammate Suarez would be impeccable to watch. Plus, with Arda Turan’s inevitable departure after a rather short and unsuccessful stint, Barcelona will be in need of a similar attacking midfielder.
Probably the most likely of transfer in this list would be that of 20-year old Dortmund winger, Ousmane Dembele. Before joining Borussia Dormund season, Dembele even had the option of joining the Catalan side, as even they were after the French youngster from Rennes. However, former Dortmund boss Tuchel, managed to persuade the youngster to join the German side over Luis Enrique’s Barcelona.
A factor that would be a stepping stone for Barcelona, in their pursuit for Dembele, would be the fact that the player’s own mentor Thomas Tuchel, the man who brought him in the club, was sacked by the board. Dembele even expressed his disappointment to the public. Talking to Sky Sports Deutschland he said,
“I’m disappointed because he is a coach who trusted me a lot. He was always there for me and brought me on a lot. He is a very good coach with whom I had a great time. But that’s how football is, our management decided like this.”
Dembele would be a 20 year old who would be on top of his world if he managed to join Barcelona by the end of this summer. Even though he wouldn’t start as much as he like for the Catalan side, duo to the unbreakable partnership of the MSN trio, however he would have a lot to learn from them, especially fellow right winger and long time player Lionel Messi.
Only hours of Manchester United’s Europa League win back on the 24th of May, new reports suggested that Barcelona would like to replace long time club legend Andres Iniesta with Manchester United midfielder and Player of Season Ander Herrera as a suitable replacement.
Having already played for Valverde in Atletico Bilbao, before joining United, it looked like Herrera would join the Copa Del Rey winners in no time, however that didn’t seem to be the case. Not only did Herrera snub Barcelona but also verbally committed his future to the club and would soon be offered a new contract.
This led Barcelona to not only close this option but also resume their pursuit of purchasing Italian maestro and PSG Midfiedler Marco Verratti.
Having played in the PSG side that dramatically got overturned a 4-0 lead to Barcelona by a 6-1 loss, Verratti looks to be an even better replacement of Andres Iniesta that the Spanish Ander Herrera. His infamous playing style of passing, interceptions, and incredible work rate seems to be a perfect fit for the Catalan side, and indeed a direct replacement for Andres Iniesta.
All in all, positions including of a right-back, a central midfielder, a back-up winger and a central attacking midfielder were the cracks of the team last season, that was generally covered by the admirable trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar. Here is the how the team would look with the inclusion of the above targets.