Barcelona Transfers: 5 Big Names Barca May Target This Summer

Samuel Marsden@@samuelmarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2013

Barcelona Transfers: 5 Big Names Barca May Target This Summer

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    Barcelona, on the back of La Masia, have developed a reputation for being a club that thrives on bringing through their own talent rather than splashing cash on headline names.

    It's proved successful too, particularly in recent years, but that does not mean they are never in the market for some of the world's best performers.

    Over the next five slides there are five players who could feature as front-page-grabbing signings for La Blaugrana this summer.

    One of the names you will be bored of hearing by now while another two possibly feature quite highly in any wish list Tito Vilanova has tucked in his back pocket.

    The last two provide food for thought, and although not necessarily rumored as incomings at Camp Nou could offer value in certain areas.

Marquinhos (Roma)

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    After Raphael Varane's virtuoso display in last week's Clasico, Barcelona may feel the time is right to invest in a young defender of their own.

    Born in 1994, Marquinhos—full name Marcos Aoas Correa—is just 18 but is already making ripples across Europe with some eye-catching performances in Italy since arriving last summer.

    It would be no surprise to learn that La Blaugrana are keeping tabs on the central defender. Many of Europe's top clubs will have probably had scouts watching him at some point.

    Some reports in January suggested Barca are ready to take it one step further, though, with a summer bid for the Brazilian, who started his career with Corinthians.

    Manchester City are said to have had a bid rejected last month

Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid/Chelsea)

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    Victor Valdes' announcement that he does not wish to continue his contract at Camp Nou when it expires in 2014 has upped the ante on who will replace him.

    Belgian stopper Thibaut Courtois—on loan at Atletico Madrid from Chelsea—appears to be one of the favorites at the moment. 

    The Sun are just one media outlet who have linked La Blaugrana with a bid for the 20-year-old, who cost Chelsea £8 million in 2011.

    How willing the Blues are to let go of one of Europe's finest young 'keepers could provide an obstacle, though.

    Other options for Barca may include David De Gea, Pepe Reina or Valencia's Vicente Guaita.

Neymar (Santos)

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    Yes. This again.

    A Google News search using the words "Barcelona" and "Neymar" returns nearly 30,000 results within 0.47 seconds.

    Even that barely does testament to how long this transfer rumor has rumbled on for.

    It seems likely that Neymar da Silva Santos Junior of Brazilian side Santos will join Barca. The only question is when.

    Will the 20-year-old head to Europe this summer? Or will he wait until after the World Cup, which will be staged in his homeland next summer?

    Time will tell.

Isco (Malaga)

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    If Barcelona weren't already overloaded with talented players in or around areas of the pitch that Isco plays, then this one may have legs.

    The problem is they are.

    Isco, 20, is technically wonderful and everything about his style of play would marry perfectly with Barcelona's tiki-taka system.

    He recently signed a new deal with Malaga, although I suspect that will serve merely as an act to get more money for him in the summer as opposed to prolonging his stay at the club.

    Premier League clubs and Real Madrid are circling, but if Barca feel he's too good to miss out on, they may prove the attacking midfielder's preferred destination.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

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    Once listed as a defender, then as a midfielder and now a forward, Gareth Bale has been on the radar of Europe's elite since he burst on to the main stage with Tottenham in the Champions League.

    With little to link him to Barcelona other than Leeds United manager Neil Warnock being "convinced he'll play for a club like Barca," there are certain aspects of any potential deal which make sense.

    Although applying a much more direct game than La Blaugrana like, the Welsh international would offer them a different option going forward.

    Andres Iniesta currently occupies the left of the front three but spends the majority of his time cutting in while David Villa looks likely to leave in the summer.

    Alexis Sanchez is out of favor and Bale, 23, would provide an interesting option should Tito Vilanova wish to continue his process of making Barcelona slightly more direct.