Though Barcelona endured a season to forget in the 2013/14 campaign, the plans are now in place to ensure that the club's tag of world-beaters is restored.
With former midfielder Luis Enrique at the helm with ambitions only for the top, the air in Catalonia suddenly has a rather optimistic feel about it, and it's not hard to see why.
Having secured the services of striker Luis Suarez, per BBC Sport, Barca fans suddenly believe that they can dominate the European game once again, with Suarez, Neymar and Messi integral to their aspirations.
However, for all of the club’s firepower up front, their defensive line seriously needs to be addressed in the bid for success, and here, we look at two stars who could be in line to shore things up at the back for Barcelona.
Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen is first on Enrique's list of defensive targets, with the Belgian's future with the Gunners very much in doubt.
Though Vermaelen has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, Mundo Deportivo, via Jamie Sanderson of Metro, report that Barcelona are ready to hijack the transfer and bring the defender to the Camp Nou.
Sanderson wrote that despite United tabling an £11 million bid for the 28-year-old, Barcelona are looking to beat their offer and could bid as much as £15 million for the Gunner.
In today’s market, that appears to be somewhat of a bargain for a player who's proved down the years that he can mix it among the very best in the business, but last season was a real eye-opener for Vermaelen.
The form of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny kept the Belgian out of Arsenal's side in the 2013/14 campaign and rusty mistakes started to creep into his play when he did get a chance.
Barcelona, then, will be hoping that a lack of first-team football was the reason behind Vermaelen's shaky defending, which certainly won't be a problem if he makes the switch to the Camp Nou.
Though new signing Jeremy Mathieu is capable of filling in at centre-back, the fact remains that it's not his natural position, and Vermaelen would undoubtedly be a more solid option for Enrique.
That’s something that Bleacher Report's Jonathan Johnson agrees with, as he questioned why exactly the club would part with €20 million for an unproven central defender:
The good news for Barca fans is that Arsenal don't appear to be putting up any resistance in terms of letting their skipper leave, with manager Arsene Wenger appearing a little indifferent to the transfer—per ESPN.co.uk:
"I cannot guarantee he will stay, but should he go I would bring another centre-back in for sure."
Just how much Enrique wants Vermaelen will determine the outcome of the transfer, but at this stage, capturing the Belgian's signature has become more of a necessity, as the club desperately need a proven centre-back.
It will feel as if the Marquinhos transfer saga is never-ending for Barcelona fans, and once again new reports have emerged to write another chapter in the Brazilian's story.
According to Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, reported via talkSPORT, Barcelona have launched a £32 million bid for the Paris Saint-Germain star, looking to beat Premier League champions Manchester City to his signature.
PSG brought the 20-year-old to the French capital just one year ago, but with former Chelsea star David Luiz making a big-money switch, chances could be few and far between for Marquinhos next season.
He failed to find the kind of spark that made him a sensation with Roma before moving to PSG in the last campaign, and while his potential is almost off the charts, the Ligue 1 champions could be willing to sell him for the right price.
While £32 million seems extortionate, Barcelona are the perfect club to forge Marquinhos into the kind of defender that he’s threatened to be for years, and it could prove to be money well spent in the future.
Whether or not PSG will let the youngster go with a lack of cover at centre-back remains to be seen, but he’d certainly be a welcome addition at Barcelona.
Eight years Vermaelen's junior, Marquinhos is the perfect man to start a new era at centre-back after Carles Puyol's exit, and with the right guidance, he could start to repay his price tag by delivering trophies to the Camp Nou.
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