Barcelona Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of April 21
We are just a few weeks away from the upcoming summer transfer window, and doubts still hover over Catalan giants FC Barcelona. The transfer ban is looming large, and there is still a very bitter taste in the mouths of all Cules.
With all of that being said, the club seem adamant that they will be able to sign players this summer. Rumours are still swirling about possible entrances and exits, and it is sure to be a news-packed week.
This transfer news tracker will be your guide to all Barcelona-related rumours this week and will be updated daily. Be sure to check back regularly to see the latest headlines for La Blaugrana.
Last updated Thursday April 24, 2014.
With Victor Valdes and Jose Pinto both set to leave the club at the end of the season, Barcelona are in need of two new keepers. There is surely no shortage of options for the Catalans, and new rumours suggest they could invade the Premier League.
According to Tom Hopkinson of the Mirror, Barcelona are mulling over a possible move for Newcastle shot-stopper Tim Krul.
The 26-year-old keeper has been in decent form this season for the Magpies and has already proved himself to be a top-flight player in Europe. Barcelona have a rich history with Dutch players, and Krul could possibly be next.
With all of the options available for Barcelona, it is hard to suggest who they will target the hardest—that is, if they can sign anyone at all.
It is no secret that the Barcelona back line needs a major overhaul. The Catalans have been in desperate need of a new centre-back for quite some time, and they are being linked with countless defenders.
As has been the case for over a year now, Chelsea's David Luiz is being linked with a move to the Camp Nou.
According to a recent report by Ed Malyon of the Mirror, the Catalans are still interested in Luiz and fully believe they will be able to make purchases this summer. The report also claims that a fee of around €30 million should be enough to pry the Brazilian away from the Blues.
Carles Puyol is currently in his last season with Barcelona, and the club desperately need to sign new defenders. Luiz may be available for the Catalans, but only time will tell if he joins Dani Alves and Neymar at the Camp Nou.
With the search for a new centre-back heating up, Barcelona have once again been linked with a move for Athletic Club Bilbao starlet Aymeric Laporte.
According to a recent report from Mundo Deportivo (via Football Espana), the 19-year-old impressed greatly during his match against Barcelona, and the Catalans have now written his name down on their summer wish list.
The French defender is quickly becoming one of the biggest names in Europe and is showing signs of true stardom. Despite his age, Laporte is already one of the best centre-backs around and arguably the very best in La Liga.
The Catalans are all too aware that Athletic Club never negotiate selling a player, meaning Laporte's €36 million release clause must be met, which is something Barcelona may not be willing to agree to.
However, it all comes down to if the 19-year-old wants to join the Catalans after becoming an unquestioned starter under Ernesto Valverde. Laporte has even stated that he doesn't care about the rumors. Per Inside Spanish Football:
The rumors don’t bother me, I’m not thinking about other teams. I’m very happy at Athletic and I’m doing well. I don’t care about the rumors, I’m ignoring them. Athletic is like my family, I’m satisfied here, trust me.
The Transfer Ban Has Been Lifted
Much to the joy of Barcelona and their fans, the club announced early Wednesday morning on their official website that their transfer ban had been temporarily suspended by FIFA's appeal committee.
What this means is that the Catalans will be able to sign players this summer and won't have to just stick with their current squad. However, what happens next is unknown.
According to the club's report, it seems as though the ban is gone altogether. In truth, FIFA will likely have to give further explanation for us to know exactly what is happening.
Center-Backs Headline the Target List
Now that the transfer ban has been lifted, the Catalans can finally focus on fixing their problem areas. With defense clearly being the weakest point in the squad, bringing in new center-backs will take precedent.
According to a recent report from Marca.com, Barcelona have already made finding new center-backs one of the club's biggest goals this summer. Sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta is said to be heading up a squad overhaul and is ready to get started.
In the report it is mentioned that there is already a five-man shortlist of center-backs that the club will be targeting — David Luiz, Aymeric Laporte, Inigo Martinez, Mateo Musacchio and Fabian Schar.
We will have to wait until the summer to see just who the club will land, but for now it seems as though there is a plan.
There are always those rumors that just seem to wild to be true, and that is definitely the case with the newest headlines linking Barcelona with a move for Arsenal's Mesut Ozil.
Talksport.com recently claimed that there has been talk of the Catalans preparing a bid for Ozil somewhere in the range of £30 million. The website sourced Paul Breen-Turner as the man who first broke the news to the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show.
“There are reports from Spain that Barcelona will make a move for Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, He was close to joining them in 2011. Ozil is a very serious target for Barcelona and they will make a move. They’re talking about a figure of £30 million, although I can’t quite believe Arsenal would even consider.”
With Ozil having just joined Arsenal and also keeping good friendships with former teammates at Real Madrid this rumor just seems odd. The Catalans may very well be preparing to bid for the German international, but it is highly unlikely he will be moving to Barcelona.