Who Will Be Barcelona's Starting Keeper Next Season?
Ever since it became public that Victor Valdes would not be signing an extension with Barcelona there has been questions over just who the club would bring in. Despite the issue needing to be resolved, there has not been much progress.
The club is in need of a revamped defense and everyone knows it. But lack of attention to the goalkeeper issue could result in a debilitated back line no matter who is brought in.
Barcelona must find a suitable replacement for Victor Valdes.
Any new keeper must be able to pass very well and be comfortable with the ball at his feet. There aren’t many options, but rumors have swirled over a few strong candidates.
So the biggest question for the Catalans at this moment may very well be: Who will be the starting goalkeeper next season?
In this article we will take a look at the chances for the candidates Barcelona have been linked to most.
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Chances of remaing at Barcelona next season: 10 percent
We will begin with the very man who started all of this drama. Victor Valdes chose to not renew his contract meaning that even if he did remain next season, he would not be staying a second longer.
However, the Catalan has a very low chance of being Tito Vilanova’s choice keeper next season.
Reports from sources such as Marca have made it clear that Valdes will likely be joining newly promoted Monaco next season. The French club will offer the keeper a much higher salary than any other club in the running, and a deal could have already been agreed upon.
In all likelihood it would be very shocking to see Valdes stay at Barcelona after the current season ends. But there is a slim chance that the 31-year-old could remain for the last year left on his contract.
If Victor Valdes remains at La Blaugrana for one more season, he will definitely be the first-choice keeper. But the chances of him leaving the club are far too great.
David De Gea or Thibaut Courtois
Chances of either player being at Barcelona next season: None
Almost any Barcelona would see the purchase of Thibaut Courtois or David de Dea as a dream come true. Both keepers are young, talented and possess tremendous quality and leadership skills.
In March, Marca reported that the duo were the top targets to replace Victor Valdes this summer. However, there is no way that will happen.
Chelsea is all too aware of the talent that Courtois has. The Belgian keeper is the natural successor to Peter Cech, and it is highly unlikely that any club could pry him away from the English club.
David de Gea, on the other hand, has finally begun to realize his potential at Manchester United.
The Spanish keeper would arguably be the very best replacement for Victor Valdes and even stood a high chance of coming to Barcelona a few months ago. But that is a thing of the past.
With all this being said, Barcelona’s two best options to replace Victor Valdes are officially off the board.
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Chances of being at Barcelona next season: 30 percent
Though Vicente Guaita’s name has not been mentioned very much lately, he was rumored to be a target a few months ago by Inside Spanish Football. Guaita may not be receiving much exposure, but he is still a strong candidate.
The argument can be made that Guaita is the best option of the remaining players. His footwork is impeccable along with his shot stopping, he is a leader with Champions League experience, and he already understands the Spanish style of play.
However, his price tag may be what is driving Barcelona away.
La Blaugrana will not pay his release clause at €30 million, and it does not look like Valencia will budge at this moment. In the long running, Barcelona could talk Valencia down on price, and Guaita could make his way to the Camp Nou.
Expect the club to make another strong push for Vicente Guaita that will test Valencia. But it would still be surprising if the keeper does join Tito Vilanova’s squad.
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Chances of being at Barcelona next season: 60 percent
Rumors have swirled over Pepe Reina for the past few months. The Daily Mail has reported that the keeper would find it hard to turn down Barcelona and his chances of joining his boyhood club are very high.
Reina would be the most like-for-like replacement for Victor Valdes. His style of play is very similar and he would already be very comfortable in the system and would have experience under his belt.
However, Pepe Reina does not offer a long term replacement option.
The Spanish keeper is actually a year young than Valdes at the age of 30. But the best years of Reina are behind him. If the club does bring in the Liverpool man they would also likely bring in a young keeper to learn from Reina.
Pepe Reina would actually be a very good signing for Barcelona at the right price. He would fit seamlessly into the squad and offer a good transition from Victor Valdes. But expecting Reina to last for several seasons is a stretch.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen
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Chances of being at Barcelona next season: 80 percent
The front-runner to replace Victor Valdes is none other than German starlet Marc-Andre ter Stegen. His name is on the lips of many Barcelona fans now, but it is important to not get too anxious about the 20 year old.
When Marca first reported that the German had signed a pre-contract with Barcelona back in February, fans were ecstatic. However, since then there has been very little word on if the report was actually true.
But with his name finally being linked again with a move to Barcelona it is looking increasingly likely that he will join the Catalans, according to ESPN.
The move is far from being official, but Ter Stegen remains the front-runner to replace Valdes.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen is an incredible shot-blocker and is very comfortable with the ball at his feet. His leadership skills are quite high despite his young age and he is not done improving yet.
However, Barcelona must be very careful with the German.
This season was far from impressive for Ter Stegen. It may have had something to do with playing behind a very weak defense, but it should also be mentioned that the 21-year-old does not have much big-game experience under his belt.
Barcelona will likely purchase Marc-Andre ter Stegen this summer, but he should not be their only addition to man the goal.
The club will absolutely need to bring in a reliable veteran such as Pepe Reina to help Ter Stegen adjust to Barcelona and grow as a keeper. Heaping the pressure on Ter Stegen’s young shoulders would not turn out well for the player or the club.
Ter Stegen could be one of the best keepers in the world in the coming years. But he is not yet ready to take the responsibility at a club like Barcelona just yet. Tito Vilanova cannot put all his hopes on the 21-year-old no matter how promising he may be.
Expect Barcelona to bring in both Pepe Reina and Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Reina would likely feature as the starting keeper but the German would quickly take over.
Who will be Barcelona’s starting keeper next season? Will a new keeper hurt the club? Leave your thoughts and comments below.