Barcelona Transfers: 5 Defenders to Target Next Summer
For whatever unexplainable reason, Barcelona have a tendency to buy midfielders only to play them as centre-backs.
Javier Mascherano went from a world-class defensive midfielder to a mediocre centre-back.
Alex Song’s creativity is wasted at centre-back and it's a risk to play him there due to his lack of positional discipline.
Here are five centre-backs for Barcelona to target next summer.
Nicolas N'Koulou, Marseille, Centre-Back, Age: 22
Nicolas N'Koulou's positioning is so faultless that he doesn't need to throw himself into tackles like Hugo Campagnaro.
N'Koulou is a safe distributor. He completes 94.8 percent of his passes.
His playing style mirrors that of Gerard Piqué, but the Spaniard's technique is superior.
Philipp Wollscheid, Bayer Leverkusen, Centre-Back, Age: 23
Philipp Wollscheid was world-class during the 2010-11 season for Nürnberg. Since signing with Bayer Leverkusen, he's continued to play at a high standard.
Javier Mascherano and Adriano show so much heart, but neither player has the ability of a Daniel Passarella or a Fabio Cannavaro to excel as a short centre-back.
At 6'4", Wollscheid would be the tallest player at Barcelona, and the club needs someone of his physical presence at the back. He also covers the ground well and he's really strong in the air.
Benedikt Höwedes, Schalke, Centre-Back/Right-Back, Age: 24
Benedikt Höwedes has filled in quite well at right-back whenever Atsuto Uchida hasn't played.
With that being said, Höwedes plays his best at centre-back. He's won back possession 6.2 times per Bundesliga game and has yet to receive a yellow card.
He sometimes looks like David Luiz when he charges out of defence, but he's much more reliable than the Chelsea centre-back.
Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Schalke, Centre-Back, Age: 20
Name one player grouchier than Holger Badstuber.
He snaps so many times within a game—whether it's yelling at his own teammates, getting into a verbal joust with his opponent or showing dissent towards a refereeing decision.
One former criticism of him was his recklessness, but he's only committed 0.8 fouls per Bundesliga game this season.
Angelo Ogbonna, Torino, Centre-Back, Age: 24
When we talk about an ideal centre-back, we talk about players who are over 6'2", mobile, strong in the air, exude calmness and complete over 90 percent of their passes.
Angelo Ogbonna fits all those categories.
Instead of flirting with the idea of signing a walking liability in David Luiz, Barcelona should break the bank for Ogbonna.
If they want a cheaper option, they could go with Saint-Étienne's Kurt Zouma, but he's still a kid.