Now that we are nearing the end of the season and it’s time for some important changes to be made in each team, I'll use this article to look into some of the expected summer targets for FC Barcelona.
Barcelona has suffered a lot of setbacks in different positions in their team. The only trophy at their reach this season is the La Liga. A shameful loss against the German giants Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi finals has only gone on to show that Barcelona need immediate reinforcement of personnel.
Looking at the season statistics of Barcelona, we can clearly understand that the major problem lies in the defence. Even though they have the highest goal difference (+68) in the current season, the average goals allowed per game are 1.09 and the defence has only nine clean-sheets out of 34 games. This simply indicates that defence is major area of concern.
According to sources, Barcelona will have the typical annual €50 million euro transfer budget. But looking at the current situation and the injury dilemmas, obviously this will not be enough to strengthen the team in all the necessary areas, at least not with the kind of stars you will expect a team like Barcelona to buy.
And so we can safely assume that FC Barcelona will sell some of their key players, the outgoing list including some big names like David Villa, Alexis Sanchez and Victor Valdes.
The team is willing to keep Valdes with the squad. But as we all know by now, he doesn’t want to renew his contract and has already declared that he wants to leave the club.
Likewise Barcelona are willing to have David Villa with them. But the player wants to leave for some other club where he will be provided with a reasonable playing time.
Some of the other expected or rumoured transfers are of the former Arsenal player Cesc Fabregas and Eric Abidal. The Catalans bought a brilliant midfield player in Fabregas during the 2011 transfer window.
Since then Fabregas has appeared in 58 games and has scored a total of 19 goals with the Blaugranes. Abidal on the other hand is loved by the Barcelona fans but both Tito Vilanova and Andoni Zubizarreta have said that this is not the time to talk about renewing his contract. Some of the players like Afellay (27), Cuenca (22) and Bojan (22), who are out on loan are also expected to be sold when returned.
From the above, we can sum up that a total of six players will be leaving the club at the end of this season. And looking at the list of rumoured signings, it seems that the Catalans will not miss these players much.
With the absence of Carles Puyol for half of the season and Javier Mascherano’s departure due to knee injury during the most important segment of the season, the club was forced to rely on young and inexperienced players for the big games like the Champions League semis.
Constant errors from the only natural healthy centre back, Gerard Pique has proven costly for the Spanish giants.
Even if returned, El Capitano Puyol’s performances cannot be expected to be of the same quality as the ones he has displayed before, with advancing age definitely being a the major reason. Hence, it’s high time that Barcelona sign a quality centre back to shape up things for a better comeback next season.
Mats Hummels was noted for his strong performances with Germany at Euro 2012 and his subsequent impression with Dortmund in the Champions League.
Hummels is good with the ball, excellent in the air and quick off the defence line. In today's game, man-marking is rarely applied at the level it once was practiced. Very few defenders have the ability to keep up with a striker, anticipate his movements and cut off the ball before it arrives.
Even though this technique is not glamorous, Mats Hummels is definitely one of the few players who can practice this at a high level.
Coming on to the next possible candidate - Thiago Silva. Silva’s performances against Barcelona during their Champions League quarter final clash has particularly caught people’s eyes as one of the best defensive showings in recent memory.
]It is his concentration in the game that is most impressive, though, and arguably the attribute that has seen him rise to the pinnacle of the world game at the back. In the first leg of the Champions League quarter finals against FC Barcelona, the PSG skipper almost single-handedly kept the likes of Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta at bay for the 90 minutes through sheer willpower, even though Barca did score two away goals. In short, this Brazilian player will most definitely be a fantastic signing for the Spanish league leaders.
Barcelona’s current midfield consisting of Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta is considered as one of the best midfield trios in the world. With an equally strong bench of Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song and the young Thiago Alcantara, there is no apparent reason for the club to go out into the transfer market for a midfield player.
But as security, the Catalan club may go in for Malaga CF player maker Isco. He is the kind of player who possesses the vision of David Silva in terms of finding a pass, but his dribbling style is more like Mikel Arteta. As an attacking midfielder, he scores goals as well as creates them. This young Spanish attacking midfielder also resembles Chelsea’s Frank Lampard with his ability to burst into the box. And as long as Isco maintains his level of performance, there’s no reason as to why Barca shouldn’t sign him.
With clubs like Inter Milan constantly trying to sign up Alexis Sanchez, and David Villa being expected to leave in search of more playing time, the slot for two forwards are open alongside Lionel Messi.
Two possible candidates for this position would be Santos player Neymar and Borussia Dortmund’s Lewandowski. It seems more than likely that Neymar will join FC Barcelona this summer. Lewandowski’s future is still uncertain as well. The Polish striker’s contract runs out in 2014 but there are numerous clubs who want to sign him.
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