The 2017/18 season brought yet another La Liga title for Barcelona as the Catalans romped home to win their third title in last four seasons and were also close to going the entire season unbeaten. Despite the Champions League title remaining out of reach, Barcelona enjoyed a terrific campaign even with star player Neymar leaving to join PSG last summer. The season will also be remembered as it brought down the curtains on club legend Andres Iniesta’s Camp Nou career.
Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho were also added to the squad and are two players who will most likely form the core of a new look Barcelona side in the next few years. With the great Lionel Messi showing no signs of slowing down, the Blaugrana do have a solid core in place for the 2018/19 season but will be looking to add a few players to their roster if they are to challenger on all major fronts in the coming year.
Here, we list down 5 players Barcelona should sign this summer:
1. Antoine Griezmann
The Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona transfer has been in the pipeline for a while now with the player even reported to have given a verbal nod to Josep Maria Bartomeu through his representatives in January this year. The 26-year-old was close to joining Manchester United last summer but the narrative has turned on its head since then.
Griezmann has been among the world’s finest players for quite some time now and only finished behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the race to win the Ballon d’Or in 2016. Possessing an excellent technique, the diminutive Frenchman is a prolific finisher with either foot and is known for his work-rate, creativity, and intelligent movement. He also knows the La Liga inside out and will undeniably be a great addition to the Barcelona squad alongside the likes of Messi, Coutinho and Suarez.
2. Christian Eriksen
One of the most under-rated players in the Premier League over the last few seasons, Danish maestro Christian Eriksen is another player that Barcelona can target this summer. The move makes all the more sense as Andres Iniesta has now departed Camp Nou and Eriksen is a player who is capable of influencing games just like the Spaniard has done for so many years.
It goes without saying that the 26-year-old would fit in well with Barcelona’s style of play as he possesses a fantastic passing range and has ability to create chances out of nothing. While the club already have a certain Philippe Coutinho waiting to take over from Iniesta, the outgoing captain’s departure could further be lessened with the arrival of a player like Eriksen.
3. Clement Lenglet / Matthijs de Ligt
Samuel Umtiti has indeed signed a new long-term deal with the club but Barcelona need more world-class options in the area and cannot solely rely on Umtiti and Pique if they are to challenge for the Champions League next season. French defender Clement Lenglet has been mooted as an option for a while now as he was one of the most promising young center-backs in Spain last season. The 22-year-old shone for Sevilla and has established a reputation for being a brilliant tackler, with a positioning sense which is better than most experienced defenders.
Ajax’s teenage centre-back Matthijs de Ligt could be a wildcard option if Barcelona are planning for the future. The 18-year-old featured in 31 league fixtures for Ajax last season and even captained the side on three occasions during their end of season run-in. de Ligt has been touted for great things in the future and could be the ideal long-term replacement for an ageing Gerard Pique.
4. David Alaba
Bayern Munich’s David Alaba is one of the most versatile players in the world and is world class in every role. The Austrian international can play as a centre-back or in the midfield and also in his more natural position as a left-back, and Barcelona, like many other clubs across Europe, are known to be admirers of the 25-year-old’s qualities.
Alaba is excellent in possession with good dribbling and passing abilities. He possesses blistering pace and can turn defense into attack in a split second. Defensively, he is composed at the back and can make beautiful crosses into the box. If they were to sign him, Alaba’s versatility will offer a lot of options for Valverde at the back. All said and done, David Alaba is one player the Catalans must consider signing this summer.
5. Hector Bellerin
Arsenal star Hector Bellerin has La Masia’s DNA in his blood and was understood to be a priority target for Barcelona before they ended up signing Nelson Semedo last summer. However, Semedo has failed to make any real difference in his debut season at Camp Nou and the reigning La Liga holders could once again move for the 23-year-old defender given their recent vulnerabilities at the right-back position.
Sergi Roberto is not a specialist right-back by any means and Semedo is yet to win Ernesto Valverde’s trust so far. The young full-back has also been on Italian giants Juventus’ wish-list for quite some time now and Barcelona will do well to bring their former youth player back this summer.
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