Neymar's arrival at Barcelona looked to signal the start of a summer of strengthening; something many felt was required after the nature of the Catalan club's capitulation against Bayern Munich in last season's Champions League semifinal.
Things haven't exactly gone swimmingly since then, though, and rather than incomings, it has been outgoings that have dominated the news.
A number of La Masia graduates have left the club: Marc Muniesa and Andreu Fontas permanently, Gerard Deulofeu and Rafinha Alcantara on loan with Jonathan dos Santos likely to follow them out the door on a short-term deal, according to Football-Espana.
Then there was the Thiago Alcantara transfer debacle, which saw Bayern Munich swoop in, and most recently Manchester United have been rumored to believe they can lure Cesc Fabregas back to England, as Mark Ogden of The Telegraph reports.
Cules would now rather look to the future, and to new players arriving at Camp Nou. PSG and Brazil defender Thiago Silva is never far from a story linking him with a move to the Spanish champions, as this report from Reuters shows, while Charles Perrin of the Express has suggested Manchester City's Sergio Aguero remains a target:
Catalan publication Sport has it that the Barcelona coaching staff have given their approval to a move even though former Camp Nou executives Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain may be unwilling to part with their prized asset.
If not the most necessary requirement for their squad, the potential arrival of Aguero could signal the start of one of the most feared front threes ever.
In theory, it would be an exciting opportunity for Barcelona to go out, as they did against AC Milan in the Champions League last season, with the sole purpose being attack, attack, attack.
Victor Valdes would be the goalkeeper, with Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano—pending the arrival of another center-back—sat in front of him. Jordi Alba would be a left-back, but he would play with the thought of dropping in to make a back three at times.
Sergio Busquets—who signed a new deal on Tuesday, via Sky Sports—Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta would form the midfield trio, with Dani Alves in line, if not ahead of them, on the right side.
Neymar would supply the width on the left, Aguero would, to the naked eye, line up centrally, hopefully creating space for Lionel Messi to cut in from the right. The relationship between Aguero and Messi, who have been friends for a long time, would hopefully supersede that worked by Messi and Villa in that Milan match.
It may end up of being a case of "we'll score more than you," but the faces that line the Camp Nou may not mind that. It also relies on discipline and intelligence from the full-backs, both of whom have more than demonstrated both on various occasions.
But while that front three remains what might resemble a "Football Manager" dream, Tito Vilanova's attention probably remains elsewhere.
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