5 Goalkeepers Barcelona Could Target to Replace Victor Valdes
The keeper has enjoyed an astonishingly successful time at Camp Nou, winning every trophy on offer, and it was only a matter of time before he decided to test himself elsewhere.
Now that everyone has accepted that there is no changing Valdes' decision, the plaudits that have been missing to this point have been showered thick and fast in his direction.
Barcelona won't easily replace Valdes as his universal skill set has no apparent weakness, but let's take a look at five keepers who might be wearing the No. 1 jersey for the Catalans next season.
That Valdes decided to stay at the club meant any deal was put on hold, but there is a possibility that it could be resurrected at the end of this season.
The 26-year-old is too good to be stuck in the reserves, and it appears the player himself agrees.
Metro report that Valencia president Amadeo Salva may be ready to sell as a result:
He is not happy with being a substitute sometimes, and his agents have reported that he could find a way out.
This does not sit well with the board – if you do not play every week, you have to make sure you keep respecting Valencia.
Guaita is a world class keeper and we have no need to sell, but we would study the price of any offers.
Napoli's Pepe Reina will be 32 years old at the beginning of next season.
While his age in itself should not be a barrier to his signature, clearly if Barca are looking to the future, then Reina is only a short-term solution.
Where he edges ahead of any of the other candidates is his closeness to various members of the Barca first-team squad, and his knowledge of the club generally—his father Miguel Reina is a former Barca player.
In fact, if his father is to be believed, then Reina was all set to sign for the Catalans last summer.
According to Paul Gorst of the Daily Mirror, Reina Snr. said:
A few months ago Pepe was in talks with Barcelona.
They had an agreement and he was all set to go. But in the end Victor Valdes did not leave.
That's why the transfer fell through.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
Borussia Monchengladbach's Marc-Andre Ter Stegen is many pundit's choice to fill the void left by Valdes.
At just 21, the player is still very young and there are question marks as to whether the role might just be too big for him at this stage of his career.
His colleague in Germany, Alvaro Dominguez, has no such doubts, per Paul Gorst, Daily Mirror:
There's no such thing as being too young when you are good - and Marc is very, very good.
I am just happy that he plays for Gladbach and I hope that he stays here. He can always join Barcelona in five years' time or so if he keeps up this form.
We have not spoken about Barcelona yet.
Ter Stegen's style of play is the most similar to Valdes. A great shot-stopper and commanding presence in the box for one so young, Ter Stegen has great distribution with both feet and is often quick off of his line to avert any danger.
All he lacks is the experience of playing for a club that is at the very highest level in all things, which Barca can provide.
Again, if newspaper reports are to be believed, then Ter Stegen already has a contract in place. So says Pete Jenson of the Daily Mail.
It's unlikely that Chelsea would sanction the sale of Thibaut Courtois, currently on loan at Atletico Madrid, to one of their fiercest Champions League rivals. Especially with Jose Mourinho back at the helm!
Barca should really go all out to try to sign this most imposing of goalkeepers, however.
The Belgian No. 1 won't come cheap, but his experience of three seasons already under his belt in La Liga, at one of the form sides, would stand him in good stead for a move to the Champions.
Reports in Spain suggest that the player himself wants a move to the Catalans.
Don't for one minute think that this move will never happen. The same was said about Luis Figo before he signed for Real Madrid.
The plain fact of the matter is that a goalkeeper of Iker Casillas' stature should not be on the sidelines week after week.
Diego Lopez has certainly grabbed his chance with both hands, but Madrid's former No. 1, is far too good to be keeping the bench company.
It surely wouldn't be too much of a surprise if Casillas looks to pastures new, and why wouldn't he go to Barca?
They could satisfy his professional ambitions, pay his salary without any problem and there would be no settling in issues, given he knows most of the Barcelona team from their games with the Spanish national team.
Casillas himself told reporters, per Dermot Corrigan ESPN:
I do not have any idea what can happen in one year, or two or three.
It is very difficult, as I have said before. There are others [out of the team] also, and we need to see it as a challenge and try and compete and play more. I will continue to fight to make it difficult for the coach.
I am ready for whenever the coach and my teammates need me.
Of course if I was playing more regularly I would be better, but I have to take advantage of the chances I get.