The 2016/2017 season was a complete disaster for Barcelona.
The Catalan giants had been the dominant force in Spanish football for some time, with Real Madrid failing to match the achievements of their fierce rivals.
However, last year marked a turning point.
Despite accumulating 90 points in La Liga, Barcelona were pipped to the title by their rivals.
Even more disappointment came in the Champions League, where Barcelona would suffer a shock exit in the quarter-finals to Juventus.
To add insult to injury, they then watched on haplessly as Real Madrid won the competition for the third time in four years.
After Barcelona lost Neymar in the summer to PSG and failed to replace him with Liverpool's Coutinho, it was expected by many that this year would follow the same pattern.
However, Ernesto Valverde's men have capitalised on a poor start by Real Madrid to open up an early five point gap at the top of the La Liga table.
But fortunes can turn very quickly in football, and in an attempt to establish their status as Europe's top club again, Barcelona are set to raid the Premier League for reinforcements.
According to The Mirror, Valverde is eyeing up a £50 million offer for Southampton's Virgil Van Dijk.
Scouts from the five-time European cup winners watched the Dutchman in Holland’s clash with Sweden during the international break.
Barcelona already have Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen vying for competition in the centre of defence, but it seems Valverde still deems it necessary to add cover in that position.
This would come as devastating news to Liverpool, who came so close to acquiring the signature of the Dutchman last summer, but were forced to drop their interest after the Saints reported them for making an illegal approach.
To make matters even worse for Liverpool, The Mirror also claim that Southampton would rather sell the 26-year-old to a club abroad than the Reds, or any other Premier League rival.
Jurgen Klopp was expected to renew his interest in the former Celtic defender in January, but his plans may now be scuppered due to Barcelona's interest.
Manchester City and Chelsea were also reported to be interested in Van Dijk at some point in the summer, but all may be forced to look elsewhere if they decide to strengthen their defence.
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