The news that Barcelona will not be able to sign any player in the next two transfer windows has led to a frenzied amount of activity at the Camp Nou, as the club looks to bring in some huge names before deadline day.
Barca will not be able to bring in new recruits until January 2016, per The Guardian, so the need to purchase quality players is now immediate.
And Sport claims the Catalan giants may move for as many as four top players in the next few days:
Thursday's cover: TWELVE days to sign... Reus? Koke? Douglas? Cuadrado? pic.twitter.com/XxpLfvANdb— SPORT English (@Sport_EN) August 21, 2014
The publication says Barca will look to buy Atletico Madrid's Koke, German wizard Marco Reus and Fiorentina's top-rated Juan Cuadrado, as well as complete the purchase of Brazilian full-back, Douglas.
Football journalist Sergi Dominguez has noted that Diario Sport says Luis Enrique's team wishes to purchase La Liga champion Koke from Atletico now and loan him back to the Calderon club for a year.
However, Dominguez says this is highly unlikely and not an easy deal:
Diario Sport say Barça want to sign Koke and loan him one year to Atlético Madrid. Virtually impossible. Not that simple.— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) August 21, 2014
It was only a few weeks ago that Koke explained to AS that he had recently turned down Barca and gave his reasons for doing so, per Miles Chambers of Goal.com:
The truth is that part of me said it was difficult to say no to Barca but I wanted to continue at home for many years at Atletico. It wasn’t time to leave. This is my home, where I feel wanted and the club didn’t need to sell.
How was I going to leave at the best time for Atletico? It’s not easy to say no to Barca and their interest was appreciated. It means the work I’ve done has paid off. But I’m at home here.
Koke sparkled for Atletico last term. His team romped to the Spanish league title and also made it to the final of the Champions League.
He played a total of 49 times in both competitions, per WhoScored.com, and forced his way into the Spain national squad for the World Cup.
The 22-year-old still has his best years to come, so it is no surprise that Barca want him immediately. If he has another strong season in La Liga, there is no doubt that other big clubs will come calling for him, and Barcelona will be unable to compete for his services.
If the club cannot acquire Koke, then Reus and Cuadrado would be excellent recruits nonetheless.
Dominguez also discussed the matter recently, saying that a loan return for Reus was indeed possible if the clubs could reach an agreement:
That being done, Barça will now go all-out for Marco Reus [be loaned to BVB for a year] or Cuadrado. Nominal time left...— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) August 21, 2014
Reus unfortunately missed the World Cup due to injury, but Colombian winger Cuadrado was a star for his country.
The pace and skill both would provide in the attacking areas would be frightening, with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez in the forward positions.
It does seem, though, that one of the four targets mentioned is sealed. Douglas will join from Sao Paulo and return to his club for a year before heading to the Camp Nou. Sao Paulo club president Carlos Miguel Aidar confirmed the deal, per Robin Bairner of Goal.com: “Barcelona will buy Douglas and loan him back to Sao Paulo for a year. In 2015 he will go to Spain.”
How many of these four players will Barcelona get in the next few days?
All four additions would be spectacular for Barca if they could seal the transfers in this window. Koke may look more likely to stay in the Spanish capital after his declaration about his team, but Reus and Cuadrado are possibilities.
Barca need to be aggressive in the transfer market after the confirmation of their ban, as Real Madrid will spend the next two windows swallowing up the best talent on the planet while Enrique's team stands still in a time warp.