Barcelona Transfer News: Luis Enrique Eyes Deals, Paul Pogba Hails Lionel Messi

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2016

FC Barcelona's coach Luis Enrique smiles before the final match against River Plate at the FIFA Club World Cup soccer tournament in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)
Shuji Kajiyama/Associated Press

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique wants to add another forward to his star-studded attacking lineup this month, according to a Reuters report (h/t the Guardian).

Enrique has promised to work up until the "final day" to add stronger depth behind Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez:

Right now our greatest need is to strengthen the attacking line but I would like [to] bring in reinforcements across the board. Negotiations are tough in the winter market because nobody wants to let important players go. We will try right up until the final day.

The report notes how B team graduates Munir el Haddadi and Sandro Ramirez have struggled to make the grade at the Camp Nou. Their respective difficulties have left Barca short of options behind their main trio.

That has to be a concern for Enrique as the club is still bidding to defend the treble it won last season. Winning three titles again is sure to be a major test of Enrique's squad.

The Messi, Neymar, Suarez trio is the reason Enrique's Barcelona have been so successful. While none of the group are particularly injury prone, the manager would surely love the option of resting one or more in games that allow.

That would mean having reserves who can come in with little drop-off in Barca's goal potential. With Alexis Sanchez and Pedro now plying their respective trades in the Premier League, quality alternatives are hard to find.

B/R's Dean Jones has reported how Barcelona are pursuing a deal for Celta Vigo's wide forward Nolito:

The Reuters report suggests Enrique might try and buy Denis Suarez back from Villarreal. But the manager would be wise to target a more marquee solution.

Paul Pogba Wants to Play Alongside Lionel Messi

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba has talked up the idea of playing alongside five-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi. Speaking at the recent award ceremony, the Frenchman spoke of his respect for Messi, according to AS reporter David F. Sanchidrian:

Of course I’d love to play alongside him, like I would with all of the great players. I used to watch Cristiano and Messi on television and I’d choose them on the Playstation. Now I am standing next to them in the team of the year but my objective is to get to the same level as them, or be even better.

Sanchidrian noted how Pogba, who secured a place in the 2015 FIFAPro XI, has been linked with a move to Barcelona: "His agent however, revealed a few months ago that he has held talks with Barca about the player."

Pogba signed a Barca shirt during the Ballon d'Or ceremony, per James Whaling of the Daily Mirror. It's something that's sure to keep another round of transfer speculation alive.

There's no doubt Pogba would upgrade any midfield, even though the 22-year-old doesn't exactly fit the mould of player Barca have often favoured in the middle. He's not a diminutive pass-master but is instead defined by his physical power and shooting ability.

The profile of Barcelona's midfield has changed somewhat since Enrique took over. Ivan Rakitic and Arda Turan have been added to replace the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Xavi Hernandez.

If Pogba wants Barca to be his next destination, the club would likely welcome him with open arms. Back in October, Pogba's agent Mino Raiola told RMS Sport (h/t the Press Association, via the Guardian): "All doors are open to all clubs."

One player apparently set to walk through the exit door at Barca is full-back Adriano. Italian source Il Tempo (h/t reports the 31-year-old Brazilian has accepted a deal to move to AS Roma.

But the same report indicates the Serie A club still have to convince Barcelona officials to sanction the loan transfer.

Adriano has struggled for game time this season.
Adriano has struggled for game time this season.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

The emergence of a player like Sergi Roberto, who can play full-back, has rendered Adriano irrelevant this season.

But Enrique knows the relevance of adding to his options up front. Having a fourth striker who can be a match winner in big games could prove decisive in Barca's attempts to defend the treble.


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