Gerardo Martino's Leaked Transfer List Demonstrates His Bigger Barcelona Picture

Paul Wilkes@@paulwilkesfootyFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2014

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero during their English League Cup final soccer match against Sunderland at Wembley Stadium, London, England, Sunday, March 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scott Heppell/Associated Press

Gerardo Martino may not be at Barcelona next season, according to Spanish television show EsportClub, per The Irish Independent. The club furiously deny the claim, but they did explain that there's a release clause that could activate if both parties were happy.

If the Argentine stays in Catalonia, then he will of course have his own ideas about which personnel he would like the club to sign, bearing in mind he has to work alongside a Sporting Director.

Mundo Deportivo says a story has surfaced on ESPN Brazil which includes a list of possible transfer targets for the coach, via Football Espana.

This list was apparently drawn up by Martino back in October, though this was never acted upon in January. The expectation is that these targets remain relevant to the manager.

It's possible that no one was recruited in the winter transfer window because there is uncertainty over Martino's position. However, it's also likely that none of the players were available during this period.

These names could be a hoax, and if they aren't, questions should be raised as to how this information was leaked. Some of the players might be wanted more than others, and those also involved in the process may fancy alternatives.

The list comprises of eight playersfour defenders, two midfielders and two strikers. It also contains details of the fees they would expect to command and the likelihood a deal can be made.

It's in those identified that could explain the direction in which Martino wishes to take the squad: the type of players that he feels will operate within his structure and can evolve the side tactically.

At centre-back, there was Borussia Dortmund’s Neven Subotic, Botafogo's 19-year old Doria and Santiago Vergini; owned by Estudiantes and on loan at Sunderland.

In the past, Subotic's defensive partner Mats Hummels has been linked with a move to the Camp Nou, via Sky Sports, but his attributes are closer to those of Gerard Pique than the departing Carles Puyol.

"I find it amusing when they talk about signing 'the new Puyol.' They can look all they want, but they’ll never find it," wrote Pique on his Facebook page, via the Daily Mail.

It's impossible to replace Puyol as a symbol of the club, and there are few defenders who display his characteristics. Subotic does possess a number of similarities and is playing at a level that suggests he could cope with the pressure.

Left-back Filipe Luis of Atletico Madrid was also on the list. It's unlikely they would be able to prise him away, so another full-back would need to be found to provide competition for Jordi Alba.

ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 23:  Miroslav Klose (L) of SS Lazio in action as Paolo Cannavaro of US Sassuolo Calcio watches during the Serie A match between SS Lazio and US Sassuolo Calcio at Stadio Olimpico on February 23, 2014 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Paolo
Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

For a midfielder, it was either Atletico's Arda Turan or Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan. They are two very different players in terms of style, though both clearly have the ability and are on the verge of stardom.

It's in attack which reveals more about Martino's future plans. Manchester City's Sergio Aguero and Lazio's Miroslav Klose were suggested.

As Barcelona predominately plays without a recognised striker, it's a significant move tactically. With a more direct approach at times, it does make more sense.

Aguero's relationship with fellow countryman Lionel Messi is strong, and he provides the space to exploit defences that wish to position themselves high up the pitch.

Klose is noted as a short-term solution. At the age of 35, he offers experience and a physical nature. Those sides that wish to sit deep would then have to contend with his superior aerial ability, and he would be able to hold up the ball.

The German would cost very little, so it wouldn't have the same financial impact as the previous Zlatan Ibrahimovic experiment.


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