With Carles Puyol making limited appearances for Barcelona this season, one would assume he is well and truly on the decline. 

Despite recently signing a new contract at the Catalan giants, Puyol is reaching the final years of his career.  

Here are some men that could fit into his boots: 

David Luiz

With Barcelona requiring a ball playing centre back, David Luiz could be the perfect match. At the young age of 25 and possibly a decade of football left in him, it wouldn’t be a bad move at all. 

His qualities have been well displayed at Chelsea where he has recently been employed in a centre midfield position.

Not only can he pass well, but he's determined on the ball and can tackle well. His long, accurate passes accompanied by frequent forays forward to support the attack have also been well documented.

He is good in the air and is strong at reading the game.  However, an area of weakness from the Brazilian, is his clear inability to keep full concentration levels. Time and time again he lets down his team at crucial times. 

One of these errors famously had ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville comparing him to "being controlled on the PlayStation by a 10-year old."

But his potential is there for all to see and he could nicely gel into this Barcelona team. 

Mats Hummels

Germany international Mats Hummels has the qualities to play for near enough any side in the world. He has been the first choice centre back for Borussia Dortmund for a few seasons and was an important member of the team that won the German double last year. 

A strong personality, Hummels uses his body well to out muscle attackers running at him. Not only does he read the game well, but also manages to intercept key passes to opposite teams’ attackers.

A player who can pass the ball well and link up with team mates to help bolster the attack, Hummels certainly fits the bill for the Catalan giants. He is a quick defender, who is good in the air and can use his height well. 

He can even play as a holding midfielder and Hummels certainly will attract a lot of interest this summer.

Mark Bartra

Barcelona may be able to look from within their own ranks when finding a replacement for Puyol. 22-year-old Mark Bartra came up through the ranks at the Nou Camp having signed for them first when he was just 11.

At 6 foot, Bartra has often drawn comparisons to fellow Catalan Gerard Pique for his commanding presence at the back. 

He is not only a good reader of the game but often adopts a no-risk strategy to his play. He has an ability to command the area in set piece situations.

Therefore, an able replacement for Puyol could already be at the club. Barcelona will also save a huge transfer fee, and would add another feather to their great academy.  

 

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