Barcelona Transfer Rumors: 5 Big Names Linked to Camp Nou
The clocks went forward in Europe at the weekend; it's supposed to signal the beginning of summer time.
What it actually signals is an increase in transfer rumors.
Just around the corner is the end of the season, and then the markets open their gates for roughly three months of made-up stories, haggling and madness.
As a club notoriously dependent on La Masia—their fa(r)med youth set up—in recent seasons, the speculation often bypasses Barcelona.
It looks set to be different this summer. La Blaugrana have already been linked—interpret that how you will—with a variety of big names. Here are five...
“I don't know if it'll be now or later, but I think that Neymar will play for Barcelona. If he goes abroad it has to be to Barcelona, because they have a similar playing style."
It's a point esteemed Madrid-based journalist Sid Lowe reiterated during a live chat on The Guardian on Tuesday afternoon:
"Neymar will come, yes. My small doubt is whether it will be this summer. My big doubt is whether it is such a good idea, but we'll see. I can't claim to have seen that much of him."
So we're left with two two questions: When? How will he fit in?
If not this summer then definitely next, we're led to believe.
His arrival could prove problematic. It would certainly signal the end for Alexis Sanchez and could also lead to stunting the development of Cristian Tello and Gerard Deulofeu.
It seems almost certain that if he does sign for Barca, his position will favor the left of the front three.
Regardless of whether or not you think Barcelona's central defenders are any good, you have to acknowledge the lack of depth in the area.
Javier Mascherano suffered an injury against PSG on Tuesday night and, with Carles Puyol already out, Barca have become very thin on the ground defensively.
Next week it could, and most probably will, be a completely different defender set to "definitely sign" for the Catalan club this summer.
You have to wonder if Wayne Rooney, in another walk of life, is known as "unnamed source."
After being left out of the starting 11 to face Real Madrid last month, there was a feast of stories suggesting Wayne would walk away from Old Trafford this summer.
The man who goes under the title "unnamed source" told the world that Barcelona was the 27-year-old's preferred destination (via The Guardian):
"I'm sure he wouldn't be short of offers, but Barcelona are head and shoulders above the rest in his eyes."
As an Englishman in Spain, I'd love to see Senor Rooney join me. I won't be holding my breath on the Barcelona link, though.
Staying in Manchester but switching allegiances, another player linked with Barcelona is Manchester City's towering defender Vincent Kompany.
Writing for The Mirror, John Cross suggests that Mats Hummels is La Blaugrana's top target. Failing that, Kompany is a close second.
The Belgian international, 26, is a huge favorite in the blue half of Manchester, though and it is unlikely Barca will be able to offer him financial incentives to lure him away.
Maybe the lure of Barcelona will be enough in itself—particularly given his recent falling out with manager Roberto Mancini (via Goal.com).
Why go to loads of different shops in different areas when you can get everything you need in one place?
While Barcelona are supposedly in Manchester casting glances at Kompany and Rooney, why not drop Sergio Aguero a little wink too?
Already boasting La Liga experience, the 24-year-old is also best friends with Lionel Messi. Everything makes perfect sense, except the money. Always the money.
Manchester City aren't looking to flog any of their top talents and certainly don't need to accept any derisory offers for their Argentinian star striker.
Although, if it meant freeing up some room for Radamel Falcao, who knows?