opinions | 2016-07-06
Umtiti and four more players Barcelona could sign this summer
The club continues to recruit new additions to the squad, we speculate who could be next
Beating Sevilla 2-0 after extra time in the Copa Del Rey Final completed a successful 2015/2016 season in which Barcelona secured the domestic double. The team may have failed to defend their Champions League crown after being knocked out at the semifinals against eventual runners-up Atletico Madrid, but Luis Enrique will still have been pleased at retaining the La Liga title and the overall progress made on the pitch.
Despite the success, this summer could be one that sees significant change at the Camp Nou, with Marc Bartra and Dani Alves unlikely to be the only players who leave for pastures new. The lifting of Barcelona’s transfer embargo in January should provide Enrique with the freedom to bring in a number of high-profile players in keeping with Barcelona’s tradition of attracting the best names in world football to Catalonia, but it may become a case of ensuring replacements are made in the required areas. Betway are likely to install Barcelona as one of the strong favourites to win La Liga and the Champions League next season, with their chances of success likely to improved if they manage to acquire their prime transfer targets.
Luis Enrique was forced to focus his attention on defenders in the transfer market, with the futures of Thomas Vermaelen, Douglas and Aleix Vidal all thrown into doubt amid potential exit rumours plus the need to bring a reliable young defender. It is an area that Barcelona may have already planned to improve, irrespective of Bartra and Dani Alves’ departure, with the team looking vulnerable on occasions at the back this season. Samuel Umtiti was the chosen one this summer, the highly-rated Lyon defender attracted interest from a number of clubs, but chose Barcelona and might be the answer to the club's decade long search for a young, top level centre-back, who could make a difference next season.
There can be no question that Paul Pogba is one of the most talented young footballers on the planet, with the 23-year-old midfielder blossoming into a terrific player for club and country. The latter will certainly hope that he continues to excel at Euro 2016, and although France are slight favourites with Betway to win their match this Thursday against Germany, Didier Deschamps will need Pogba to be at his mercurial best. He will undoubtedly be the subject of more transfer speculation this summer, with Barcelona rumoured to be one of three clubs who are willing to break the bank to convince Juventus to sell their prized asset. Pogba would be a fantastic signing for Barcelona, with the young star potentially adding more drive and energy alongside Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets in midfield. It remains to be seen whether the Barcelona hierarchy are willing to sanction a no-limit offer to secure a player who could become a real star at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona may find it difficult to replace Dani Alves who has been a wonderful servant for the club over the years, and with Luis Enrique unconvinced that Douglas and Vidal can fill considerable shoes, he may turn to 22-year-old Monaco right-back Fabinho. The Brazilian defender has enjoyed another strong season in France, but with Monaco appearing unlikely to beat Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain, he may be tempted by a move if Barcelona come calling. Fabinho would be an instant hit if he proves to be anything like the player Dani Alves was in Barcelona colours, and with the team currently without a right back, he could make the position his own.
Las Palmas surprised everyone by enjoying an excellent season following promotion to finish as high as eleventh, but the Gran Canaria club could be set to lose one of their prized assets. 20-year-old Mauricio Lemos is attracting the interest of Barcelona and Real Madrid after a fantastic campaign while on loan from Rubin Kazan, and although Las Palmas have exercised their option to sign the defender permanently for £1.6 million, they may be set to sell for much more than that. Barcelona have already had a bid rejected, but are expected to return with an improved offer as Luis Enrique looks to add the promising defender to his squad.
There may come a time when Barcelona have towards a new era when the likes of Iniesta are not around, and while La Masia is built to produce a new wave of talented players, searching the transfer market for talented stars is always a viable option. Valencia midfielder André Gomes is certainly a player that has caught the eye in La Liga despite his club’s struggles, with the 22-year-old Portugal international a key performer for his country at Euro 2016. He would be seen as the ideal replacement for Iniesta and has the technical qualities at such a young age to make a real difference, but it will takes a considerable offer to convince Valencia to sell. Furthermore, there is also the possibility that Barcelona will face competition from other clubs for Gomes’ signature, but Luis Enrique will hope that playing for the La Liga champions and the Champions League will tip the balance in their favour.
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