Barcelona – yes, Barcelona - have just been hammered 7-0 on aggregate by German giants Bayern Munich.
Over the course of the two legs, the Blaugrana were ripped apart by the sheer power and pace of the Germans, with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in particular running rampant. Barca simply could not cope with the strength and pace of their opponents, and they were undone by blistering counter attacks and balls served into the box.
Albeit weakened by injuries, the Barcelona midfield was given a dose of their own medicine by Thomas Muller and Bastien Schweinsteiger, whose energy and enthusiasm dictated the play.
This created problems for Barcelona's almost non existent backline; a backline with currently only one recognised center-back in the shape of Gerard Pique.
This begs the question: should Barcelona make Neymar their top transfer priority? After all, this is the same team that has scored more than 140 goals in all competitions and sits comfortably atop the La Liga standings by 11 points.
Potency in front of goal can hardly be a concern for the Catalans. Goals conceded, however, tell a different story, with the club conceding 65 goals so far, 17 less than last year's entire tally. An alarming rate, which is most likely due to the appallingly low number of center-backs (just two).
While injuries to Carles Puyol and makeshift center-back Javier Mascherano haven't helped, the leaky backline should signal a burning need for a defender or two. Tito Vilanova has been forced to band-aid his backline with improvisation such as Macherano, as well as employing left-back Adriano at center-half. This instability at the back is unacceptable for a club like Barca, which should make defence the overwhelming priority.
Barca should look to invest in a no-nonsense, ball-winning, center-back or two - not an unproven and, dare I say it, overrated player who has only shone thus far in Brazil. Don't get me wrong, Neymar is a phenomenal player who will only grow better, but he should not top the priority list for a club such as Barca.
While the addition of Neymar would certainly strengthen any side, his signing should compliment a new and improved backline. Barca are understandably reeling from failed expeditions into the defender market, having failed to sign both Javi Martinez and Thiago Silva last summer.
The club also was also unsuccessful in signing Premier League duo David Luiz and Thomas Vermalean in 2011, thanks to the newly instilled Financial Fairplay. Nevertheless, defensive options should still be taken into consideration. A sizeable bid could prove enough to prise the likes of Mamadou Sakho and Jolean Lescott from they're respective clubs, with the duo having both expressed their unhappiness.
A cheeky bid for Lyon's Dejan Lovren could also prove to be frugal business, with the Croatian impressing for both club and country of late. Cash-strapped Atletico could also be persuaded to part with a center-back if the price is right, with Miranda proving himself a worthy La Liga veteran.
It is true that attacking players such as Alexis Sanchez and David Villa have experienced a dip in form as of late, with the latter being denied a January move to Arsenal, so Neymar's signing could prove to be a great bit of business, the fact remains that Barca simply have bigger fish to fry.
The broken back-line is extremely problematic, with the already aging Puyol now suffering from injuries. Midfielder by trade, Macherano, is simply put not a very good center-back. The Argentinian is often responsible for diving in to tackles and conceding needless fouls in and around the area.
The young duo of Marc Barta and Martin Montoya seem to have good potential but have not proven themselves just yet, while Abidal's fitness is a worry. Dani Alves is player who is also entering the latter stages of his career and often doesn't seem interested in tracking back after marauding forward. Not to mention the ailing and aging midfield duo of Xavi and Iniesta who aren't getting any younger.
Cec Fabregas and Thiago Alcantara could prove to be ready made solutions; however, both have so far failed to live up to expectations. Then there's Alex Song, who has endured a torrid first season, starting only three of his fourteen league appearances.
According to several reports circulating over the past few months, the transfer of Neymar from Santos to Barcelona has reached the formality stage, with a pre-contract agreement having allegedly been signed by both parties and the player being granted a guaranteed 40 million euros.
Quite a hefty fee, I just hope the Barcelona heirarchy have more plans in order to fix that faulty back-line. If not, the glory era will surely end soon for Barca, if it hasn't already - and not even a young Brazlilian prodigy can change that.
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