FC Barcelona Transfer Rumours: 5 Moves Barca Should Consider
In perhaps an unsurprisingly quiet transfer market, new FC Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova waits patiently to complete his squad. With Barça beginning their preseason campaign this week against HSV, time is slowly running out for the Catalan giants.
Despite only falling at the final hurdle in their last campaign, Barça’s depth was at times exposed. With defence being the main focus of criticism, it comes as little surprise that the Catalans have been linked with a spate of world-class defenders.
In his first official press conference as manager, Vilanova ruled out the possibility of signing a forward and spoke of his desire to sign a versatile centre-back.
Athletic Bilbao’s Javi Martínez has been at the centre of rumours in recent weeks, but Barça should steer clear of the versatile Basque for more reasons than one.
Here are five moves Barça should consider.
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Consider Bids for Ibrahim Afellay
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The Dutch winger endured a frustrating 2011/12 season recuperating from a knee injury.
Indeed, in many ways, Afellay does not deserve to be shown the door before he's had a real chance to prove his wares.
He is, however, a wanted man, with reported interest from Premier League clubs Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool among others. If the right offer does come in for the Dutchman, it is well worth considering, as opportunities will be limited for Afellay, with David Villa returning from injury and youngsters Cuenca and Tello expecting more time on the pitch.
Barça have plenty of options up front already, and looking for greener pastures could be a wise decision for the talented Dutch flyer.
Seriously Consider Brazilian Dedé
In 2011, Brazilian fans chose 'O Mito' as the best player in the Brasileirao ahead of Neymar. That should give you some indication of just how good the 24-year-old Vasco de Gama centre-back is.
Blessed with height, athleticism, exceptional tackling ability and comfort on the ball, Dedé has taken little time in establishing himself as the best defender based in Brazil. Indeed, height and pace at the back are two things Barcelona would welcome with open arms.
Make a Bid for Laurent Koscielny
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Another centre-back linked repeatedly with Barcelona is Arsenal's Frenchman, Laurent Koscielny.
A good indication of players that do well at Barcelona, are players that do well against them. His performance in 2011 at The Emirates against the Blaugrana was one of his best to date.
The Frenchman possesses pace, height and an aggression not dissimilar to aging Barça captain Carles Puyol. Further, his comfort on the ball and ability to play at full-back ensures he fits the profile outlined by Vilanova ideally.
Koscielny is reportedly in talks with Arsenal over a contract renewal, so Barça must act quickly if they wish to pursue their interest.
Make a Bid for Daniel Agger
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Liverpool's Daniel Agger has been the focus of many rumours in Barcelona over the past week, and for good reason. The Dane was one of the standout defenders at Euro 2012, consistently performing at a high level, leading an impressive Denmark defence.
Agger's talent is undeniable. He reads the game well, he is comfortable on the ball and he has proven himself as a worthy leader in defence. With Barcelona visibly missing Puyol's leadership at times last campaign, this is a quality well worth noting.
His impressive ability in the air is also worthy of mention.
The Dane's ability has never been questioned, but he remains an injury-prone footballer. For this reason, Barça should first consider the likes of Koscielny and Dedé.
Give La Masia Talents a Chance
Marc Bartra and Andreu Fontàs
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It may come as news to some that Barça have promoted no fewer than four players from their B team for the coming campaign. No doubt one or two players will have to move away on loan, but Tito Vilanova insists he counts on his youth stars.
Martin Montoya (RB) will play second fiddle to Dani Alves, while Jonathan Dos Santos (CM) could provide backup for Sergio Busquets.
It is, however, in the problem centre-back position where Vilanova must place trust in the young hands of Marc Bartra, Andreu Fontàs and Marc Muniesa. Whether a new centre-back is signed or not, it is worth keeping one of the three around.
Muniesa has been linked with a loan to Ajax, but the three should be given a chance to impress in the preseason before making any hasty decisions. After all, Vilanova could have the next Puyol on his hands just waiting for a chance to shine.