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Barcelona Transfers: How Vilanova Can Upgrade Around Messi, Neymar

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 19:  Head coach Tito Vilanova and Eric Abidal of FC Barcelona holds up the trophy during the celebration after winning the Spanish League after the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Valladolid CF at Camp Nou on May 19, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images
Samuel MarsdenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2017

It must be a testing period for fans of Barcelona. Despite the signing of Neymar, their transfer window has since struggled to break into life.

All everyone really wants to see at Camp Nou now is a world-class defender. However, all the rumors suggest that we're much more likely to see another attacking midfielder or a forward join the club.

According to The Mirror, Chelsea's Juan Mata was supposedly the first to pique the club's interest—and if Thiago Alcantara leaves the club, it does make a degree of sense. With that being said, Mata would struggle to break through the barriers that have forced Thiago to consider his future in the Catalan capital.

Roma's Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic is the other midfielder reportedly being eyed by La Blaugrana, according to Football-Italia.net. Again, he shouldn't be prioritized over a center-back, either.

The links to strikers are more intriguing. Wayne Rooney in The Sun follows Fernando Torres in The Guardian in being linked with a move to Barca this summer. With David Villa likely to leave the club, according to The Mirror, Tito Vilanova may be seeking to sign someone with lengthy experience as a natural forward.

Of the two available, Rooney might make more sense. He's a technically gifted footballer who could certainly adapt to the style of football at Barcelona.

All things considered, he could be a good replacement for the departing Villa.

When Barcelona were so electric in 2008/09, they banked on goal-scoring contributions from Lionel Messi (38), Samuel Eto'o (36) and Thierry Henry (26). Recently, they've become more dependent on Messi.

Rooney, spread across the season with Messi and Neymar, could help restore that goal-scoring parity within the squad. How much of a rotary role the Englishman would be willing to play would need to be considered—as well as how he would adapt moving away from England. According to The Sun, Tony Adams said he wouldn't cope with London.

Above all, aside from the possibility of a forward, Vilanova knows the biggest upgrade required around Messi and Neymar is at the heart of his defense.

Spanish paper AS says that Barca's manager only has eyes for Thiago Silva, but the deal is proving complicated. According to Goal.com, Sandro Rosell said that it's not buying the player that is the problem, but bringing his wages in line with the rest of the squad to maintain harmony in the dressing room.

The Brazilian defender is at the Confederations Cup at the moment. Upon its completion, Barcelona need to work out quickly whether a deal could be possible for the 28-year-old.

It's important they don't waste too much time pursuing a target that will not come off—however attractive that target may be,

If it's not possible, Rosell, Vilanova and Barcelona will need to move on to the host of other defenders they should have identified as alternatives. The transfer window hasn't come as a surprise. Between them, you'd expect they have a number of suitable candidates lined up if Silva is not available.

With the Neymar deal wrapped up early, Barca's next big upgrade needs to come at the back, and it needs to come as soon as possible.

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