Barcelona Transfer Rumours: Breaking Down Gerardo Martino's Centre-Back Targets
For Barcelona, the summer transfer period carries with it just two more goals—fend off pesky Manchester United and its incessant bidding for Cesc Fabregas, and add a top-notch centre-back.
Let's address the latter issue, because lord knows you are probably tired of hearing about the former.
According to John Edwards of the Daily Mail, new manager Gerardo Martino has compiled a list of five centre-backs he's intrigued by:
[David] Luiz could still be heading out of Stamford Bridge, though, after new Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino met sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta to discuss transfer plans and presented him with a five-man list of defensive targets.
Let's quickly break each one down, discussing how they might fit with Barcelona, which would make the most sense for the club and the likelihood of each joining the Catalan side.
Vincent Kompany, Manchester City
WhoScored.com Match Rating (League Play): 7.06
Key Stats: Made 2.1 tackles, 1.7 interceptions and 6.8 clearances per game, according to WhoScored.com.
Analysis: Kompany is the best player on this list and Manchester City's skipper, so he's also the most unlikely player on this list to be sold to Barca. Like many of his teammates, he didn't have a great season last year, but he was the Premier League Player of the Year in 2011-12.
He'd be a great get for Barcelona, but it isn't happening.
David Luiz, Chelsea
WhoScored.com Match Rating (League Play): 7.16
Key Stats: Scored seven goals and added five assists in all competitions for Chelsea last season.
Analysis: Luiz is the most versatile of players on this list, as he is a true danger getting forward in the attack or blasting away from distance. His actual defending and positioning need some work, but he would add more flair to this Barca side.
It's a real possibility this could happen, though Chelsea would be smart to keep him at Stamford Bridge.
Jan Vertonghen, Tottenham
WhoScored.com Match Rating (League Play): 7.59
Key Stats: According to WhoScored.com, was the top-rated defender in the Premier League last season.
Analysis: Vertonghen is a really good defender; he's versatile enough that he made 16 appearances for Tottenham at left-back and was excellent in the role. It's hard to imagine Tottenham letting him go a season after signing him, so this probably won't happen, but it's easy to see why Martino would want him.
Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal
WhoScored.com Match Rating (League Play): 6.79
Key Stats: Had 1.6 interceptions per game in Premier League play, but a whopping 4.3 per contest in seven Champions League clashes, per WhoScored.com.
Analysis: If Vermaelen ends up with Barcelona, he would be the third Arsenal player in three summers to join the Catalans. We might have to start calling Barcelona "Barsenal" at that point, while a few cheeky fans will take to referring to Arsenal as "Arselona," emphasis on the arse.
But this one has the feel of a move that could feasibly happen, and Vermaelen is a better player than he showed last year. After falling out of favor at Arsenal and losing his starting gig, Vermaelen could very well be moved yet this summer.
Daniel Agger, Liverpool
WhoScored.com Match Rating (League Play): 7.03
Key Stats: Had an impressive 88.7 pass completion percentage last season, per WhoScored.com.
Analysis: After losing Jamie Carragher to retirement, it's hard to imagine Liverpool letting Agger escape. He certainly has the class to play for the Catalans, but expect Liverpool to demand a high price for his services or refuse his sale altogether.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are not interested in being an Arselona supporter.
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