5 Strikers Linked with a Summer Move to Barcelona
By some distance, the most annoying thing about the two soccer transfer windows is the alarming regularity with which clubs are linked with all manner of playing staff.
From the vaguely believable to the frankly preposterous, it's open season for Twitter-mongers, tabloids, "friends of 'player x' brother-in-law's uncle" and the like to punt story upon story to fill the column inches.
"Transfer Deadline Day" may provide TV and radio stations with a soap opera of sorts, yet it's certainly no way to conduct effective business in my opinion.
Barcelona generally like to get their transfer targets identified, and where possible signed, as early as practicable.
It's a far more sensible policy than that which many clubs, particularly in the UK, adopt. A last-minute bargain hunt if you will.
Let's take a look, then, at five strikers that La Blaugrana have already been linked with purchasing during this summer.
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"The white Pele" they once called him.
His influence on the game has dwindled to such an extent that he cannot even be considered a certain starter week-in and week-out for Manchester United.
Employed in a more deep-lying role at Old Trafford these days, it's difficult to imagine where Rooney would fit in at Camp Nou.
His style is more suited to the physical aspects of the English game. However, one shouldn't underestimate the level of Rooney's technical capabilities.
Wing play is not Wayne Rooney's forte, so where else could he fit in? Perhaps the false nine role, but there is the small matter of a certain Argentine in his way.
Is Rooney the answer for Barcelona? Not for me.
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Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski has been interesting Rooney's employers in the red half of Manchester, and if reports are to be believed, German rivals Bayern Munich are said to be keeping tabs on the Polish international.
With La Blaugrana in the market for a striker, rumours have been sweeping Catalonia that Lewandowski could be the man.
He certainly did his cause no harm with a four-goal salvo last week!
As he showed in emphatic style, he is a very technically proficient player for a traditional target man.
Adept at holding up play, bringing others into the game and generally finishing with finesse and accuracy when given the chance, Lewandowski's rise has been swift.
It's said that in 2008 Lech Poznan representatives watching the player were so underwhelmed that they left after just 15 minutes!
If a move for the player by Barcelona is indeed on the cards, then I would suggest it would require a modification of the current system in play at Camp Nou.
Given the failed Zlatan Ibrahimovic experiment, as great a player as Lewandowski is, I can't see Tito Vilanova making the move to bring him to Catalonia.
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Suarez is a player I really like, and South Americans generally do well in La Liga. Can he fit in at Barcelona and be a success? Absolutely.
The Uruguyan has that little bit of star quality that marks out the very best players. Eric Cantona had it. Lionel Messi has it. Luis Suarez definitely has it.
His movement off of the ball is sharp, incisive, intelligent. Give him the ball, and he makes things happen.
Deceptively strong for a small player, blessed with extraordinary skill and with an appreciation of the game second to none, Suarez has all the attributes that would see him become a success at Camp Nou.
The 10 matches that he misses will crucify both club and player, and it is Suarez' temperament that is the only question mark over the player, and the main reason why I don't expect Barcelona to make a bid for the players' services.
Sergio 'Kun' Aguero
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Sergio Aguero would be the perfect signing for Barcelona in my opinion.
In one of my earlier Bleacher Report articles, I suggested Gonzalo Higuain would be the man but that was a purely hypothetical piece.
An Aguero transfer is one I can see happening, and given the choice between the man who won the Premier League for Manchester City last season or the next, and final, candidate, I'm prepared to stand corrected if most of you disagree with my view that "Kun" should be top of the shopping list.
An extremely successful spell in the Spanish capital for Atletico Madrid gave the diminutive Argentine the perfect La Liga schooling.
Along with Higuain, Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero form a devastating triumvirate for the Argentine national team.
Each knows the others' game so well, and I have no hesitation in placing Aguero on either the left or right side of a front three for Barcelona.
Something that he brings to the table, and which Barca miss sans Messi, is directness.
We love our "Tiki-taka," our beautiful passages of interplay, our Barca. I'd still dearly love to see an attacker, other than Lionel, go at defenders and pepper the opposition goal on a more regular basis.
Sergio "Kun" Aguero gets my vote.
So that only leaves...
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Neymar Da Silva Santos Junior.
The incessant drone of the journalist keyboard devoting column inches to this Brazilian phenomenon is getting a little tedious now.
At the present time, this appears the transfer most likely to happen.
The will-he-wont-he soap opera being played out daily makes good copy, but I do believe that Barcelona President Sandro Rosell stole a march on all other suitors by using his corporate address book and some Nike dollar to corner his prey.
Make no mistake, the boy is on his way to Europe. Camp Nou will be his destination.
To my mind a "Ronaldinho-lite," Neymar's individuality and brilliance will simply not fit into the style of play adopted by the other top sides being linked with the player.
I'm excited at the possibility of seeing him test himself against the best, seeing the individual brilliance moulded into the Barca team ethic.
Yet I'm blinded by his penchant for the unnecessary, his need to not only score the perfect goal, but to habitually humiliate his opponents when doing so.
"Killjoy," I hear you cry, but in my opinion this guy needs to serve his apprenticeship at the sharp end before unleashing a rainbow flick on the likes of Pepe, Sergio Ramos et al.
If he arrives, as I believe he will this summer, then I will be right behind him. I just hope that the reality justifies the hype.
Let me know if you agree with my summary. Perhaps there are other rumoured transfers you'd prefer to see happen?
Please leave any comments below and thanks for reading.