Barcelona will bring Celta Vigo winger Nolito and an established centre-back to the Camp Nou in July, according to Lluis Miguelsanz of Spanish outlet Sport.
Miguelsanz wrote that Barca manager Luis Enrique doesn’t want to take risks with an unproven signing, which is why he’s identified the prolific Celta man as the perfect back-up to one of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
No deal has officially been reached just yet, but Enrique’s decision means the club will go all out to land Nolito in the summer. However, that’s an all-too-familiar story for the Catalan giants.
During the January transfer window, Barcelona tried with all their might to lure the 29-year-old to the Camp Nou, but Celta stood firm and refused to cave to pressure.
Barca sporting vice-president Jordi Mestre told Mundo Deportivo "Barcelona put in all they could, plus even more to try and sign him. But on the other side, Celta did not give in,” via ESPN FC.
The report stated Nolito is valued at €18 million, and here’s what Barcelona would be getting for their money:
Barca will likely use their financial power to make Celta cave this time around, although the winger himself needs to be willing to spend time on the substitutes' bench before he agrees to a move.
At the other end of the pitch, Barcelona will reportedly be looking to land a centre-back who can give the current rear-guard a run for their money.
Is Nolito worth €18 million to Barcelona?
Enrique has Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Jeremy Mathieu, Marc Bartra and Thomas Vermaelen at his disposal, and another option in the heart of defence will leave him spoilt for choice.
One player who could well disrupt Barca’s back line in Paris Saint-Germain star Marquinhos, who has been linked with a move to Catalonia of late.
And the Brazilian told Globo Esporte that he’s open to a switch to the Camp Nou—via Stefan Coerts of Goal.com:
I am very happy that a big team like Barcelona are showing an interest in me.
We will evaluate my situation at the end of the season and make a decision.
Barcelona are a great team that won the [UEFA] Champions League last season. It is very pleasing to be linked with them. It shows that I am doing well.
Like Nolito, Marquinhos certainly has all the credentials to be a success with Barcelona, although he’ll likely cost the European champions a pretty penny.
Enrique’s side are on course for yet another season of silverware greed, yet the manager wants to ensure Barca remain a football superpower for the foreseeable future.
Landing a new forward and a new defender will certainly send the club on their way to doing exactly that, although hanging on to their prized assets will be the first priority.