Gerard Pique recently claimed that: “it’s hard for Barcelona to buy centre-backs.”
Pique was the only light in Barcelona’s defensive woes last season, with captain Carles Puyol turning 35 and deteriorating, Javier Mascherano plagued by a series of niggling injuries and Marc Batra unconvincing.
The Blaugrana have been linked with a lot of big names this summer, with stars such as David Luiz and Thiago Silva being subject to transfer speculation, however the summer has been fruitless for Barcelona so far. In comes Laurent Koscielny.
Pique also stated that: “It’s hard to find the right profile [of player] because our style is so unique… experience says it’s not easy to find a centre-back for Barca.” Voted Arsenal’s second best player last season, Koscielny has established himself as a rock solid player in the heart of Wenger’s defence.
2012/13 was his defining year, becoming a highly consistent defender and forging a strong partnership with Per Mertesacker and ousting captain Vermaelen.
Koscielny is a powerful defender - as strong in the tackle as he is in the air. He also has a distinct presence going forward, providing some x-factor moments such as scoring Arsenal’s second in a 2-0 away win against Bayern Munich and scoring against Newcastle on the last day of the season to secure Arsenal Champions League football for the 17th consecutive season.
Koscielny’s transition to Barcelona would be an easy one, where his time under Wenger would aid him in adapting to Barcelona’s ‘tika-taka’ playing style.
Turning 28-years-old this year, Koscielny would still represent a good long-term investment for the Blaugrana, where he still would have at least four years at his peak.
Another factor that would favour a move for Koscielny would be he his price tag. With Chelsea attaching €58 million price tag on David Luiz, Koscielny could be obtained for around €30 million.
However, with Monreal and Vermaelen sidelined for the start of the season, that would leave Wenger unrealistically short of defensive options. On the other hand, if Koscielny was sold for a large sum, it could free up the funds to continue Wenger’s pursuit in Swansea centre-back Ashley Williams and others.
With La Liga starting in a week's time, Barcelona are looking increasingly desperate for a defensive solution. While Koscielny could be the answer, it remains to be seen who manager Gerardo Martino will target in the remaining weeks of the transfer window.
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