Barcelona Transfer Rumours: Late Targets Must Be More Viable Than Jan Vertonghen
Barcelona have spent a large portion of the offseason trying to bolster the center of defense. So far, the club has been unsuccessful, mostly because Barca have targeted players like Jan Vertonghen. They must now focus on more attainable options.
Darren Lewis of the Daily Mail reports Tottenham have ruled out moving Vertonghen despite the Barcelona links. Spurs also rejected the notion that bids have already been placed for the veteran center-back, at least to this point.
The Spanish champions are said to have targeted the 26-year-old after being warned off David Luiz by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho and off Thiago Silva by French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
But Spurs have rejected claims of a bid by Barca, also linked with Liverpool centre-back Daniel Agger, and insisted Vertonghen is staying.
Quite frankly, it's easy to see why Barca have struggled to find another central defender. When a club is trying to land the likes of Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Daniel Agger, it's going to receive a lot of resistance from the players' current clubs.
Shooting for the stars is fine at the outset, but it's quickly becoming clear that other squads have no interest in moving their top-notch center-backs. That's not a surprise, of course, because reliable ones are extremely hard to find.
Players on the level of Silva are sometimes simply too valuable to move, even if an elite club like Barcelona are willing to pay top dollar.
So Barca are set to enter the new La Liga campaign, which begins with a clash against Levante on Sunday, without the central defender they hoped to sign. The lack of progress should serve as a sign that it's time to move on before the transfer window closes.
Richard Farley of NBC Sports mentions Inigo Martinez of Real Sociedad and Jeremy Mathieu of Valencia as two viable targets with previous links to Barcelona. He believes a deal for Martinez makes the most sense.
One of the most persistent is Inigo Martinez (pictured, in red, above), a 22-year-old currently playing for Real Sociedad. This one makes so much sense, it’s worth asking why it hasn’t happened. Sure, sure, the player might not want to move or the club might not actually want him, but since when did we stop suspending our disbelief on transfer rumors?
Martinez and Mathieu are both capable of filling the void. They are not on the same level as Silva or Luiz, but they are also more attainable targets on the surface. And that's an increasingly important factor with the amount of time to swing a deal running out.
Will Barcelona sign a center back before the window closes?
It should be clear to the Barcelona brass by now that the chances of signing a marquee center-back to provide some stability at the back are low. They have to shift gears to a reserve option simply capable of filling holes when needed.
Whether it's Martinez, Mathieu or another defender, there's still a chance for Barcelona to make an impact addition. Carles Puyol can continue to provide a veteran presence alongside Gerard Pique with the signing serving as depth until Marc Bartra is ready for a major role.
Barcelona would be taking a risk if they don't make any additions to the back line before the window closes. They might have to settle for a secondary target, but it's better than nothing.
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