Barcelona are preparing a summer blitz for Bundesliga stars Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and Marc-Andre ter Stegen, according to reports.
Gerardo Martino is allegedly looking to strengthen his squad in key areas, particularly defence, and is looking to Germany for inspiration, as revealed by Mundo Deportivo, via Adam Shergold of the Daily Mail:
Mundo Deportivo reports that Barcelona will revamp their squad in the summer with the triple swoop on the Bundesliga.
Bayern Munich striker Thomas Muller, Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels and Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen are all on their way as Barca subscribe to the theory that the German league is the strongest in Europe at the moment.
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Mundo Deportivo also cites a story by German publication Bild, per Yahoo! Eurosport, which suggests that ter Stegen underwent a "secret" medical at the Camp Nou ahead of his proposed move. He has widely been tipped as the replacement for Victor Valdes across the season and certainly seems the most likely of the German trio to move.
Hummels' name is likely to excite Barca followers who have been crying out for a defensive improvement. Although La Blaugrana boasts the second-best defence in the league behind Atletico Madrid, the likes of Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol have struggled to make a positive impression on a consistent basis.
At the age of 35, Puyol's injury problems are starting to take their toll. He has made just five appearances in La Liga and the Champions League this season but has regularly been deployed in the Copa Del Rey since 2014 began.
Puyol scored in his fourth Spanish cup match throughout January, notching a goal in the 5-1 win over Levante.
Even so, Hummels is naturally suited as his replacement. The ball-playing defender is blessed with physical stature and decent pace. He can dominate in the air and has an eye for goal. He would form a formidable partnership alongside Pique, who could use further world-class competition to ensure he doesn't switch off like we saw in the 3-1 loss to Real Sociedad.
It is difficult to suggest where Muller would fit in when analysing Barca's current squad. Traditionally a wide player who often romps through the middle, the Bayern Munich star would face a difficult task in dislodging Alexis Sanchez, Pedro, Neymar, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas or Lionel Messi.
Muller has completed 90 minutes just three times in his last eight appearances and is used to a rotational system at the Allianz Arena, per WhoScored.com. He has netted three goals in his last two bit-part appearances for Pep Guardiola's team and is a team player who could excel at Camp Nou if snapped up.
The Champions League winner has quickly recovered from what appeared to be a serious injury to begin training again, as noted by Bayern's English Twitter account:
Barcelona are destined to be linked with multiple world-class talents as the summer approaches. Martino should look to imprint his own personality on the team and not adhere to the style of Guardiola and Tito Vilanova before him.
Signings such as Hummels, Muller and ter Stegen will begin to do this, signalling the onset of a major overhaul in Catalonia.