AS conducted the vote, with Dybala, Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann noted as the options. It was the former who came out on top, taking 37 per cent of the vote ahead of Griezmann and Mbappe.
Coutinho was behind that trio in the eyes of Barca fans, with Dembele the only man less popular.
As noted below, the players mentioned in the poll have all been tipped as men to potentially fill the void left by Neymar:
B/R Football @brfootball
They’ve said their goodbyes—let’s hear it: who replaces Neymar? 🤔 https://t.co/KhZuekIjIK2017-8-2 22:14:05
Per AS, the Barca forward is poised to complete his move to Paris Saint-Germain in the coming days, ending a four-year stay at the Camp Nou.
Neymar will leave a big hole on the left side of the Barca attack when he leaves. The Brazilian is not only incisive in the final third in terms of his taking of chances, he’s a player who provides thrust to that flank and can carry the Blaugrana through the phases.
Whoever comes in to replace the Brazil international has big shoes to fill, as these numbers from MisterChip show:
MisterChip (English) @MisterChiping
GAMES: 186 MINUTES: 15.294 WINS: 140 (75%) GOALS: 105 (1/146 min.) ASSISTS: 59 (1/259 min.) 🏆: 8 🇫🇷Au revoir🇫🇷 https://t.co/nNP3WNQppR2017-8-2 09:17:44
Dybala is a man with the potential to do so. During his two seasons at Juventus, he has been sensational, excelling at the sharp end of the pitch; he’s already helped Juve to two Serie A titles and the UEFA Champions League final last season.
During that run to the final, Barcelona found out firsthand what Dybala can do, as he terrorised them in a 3-0 win at Juventus Stadium. The Argentinian’s dribbling skill, burst of speed and left-footed finishing was reminiscent of a certain Lionel Messi.
As noted by WhoScored.com, he’s pretty good in dead-ball situations, too:
Paulo Dybala: Scored the most direct free-kicks in Serie A last season (3) https://t.co/oSgdc9CcL32017-7-28 12:00:03
That explosiveness and ingenuity in the final third is something Neymar had, too, although Dybala isn’t someone who has typically played on the left of a front three.
Coutinho did for Liverpool for long spells of the previous campaign and while he may not be a natural forward, nor be that popular with Barcelona supporters, he’s a talent. The Reds man can glide past defenders, thread intelligent passes into gaps and score stunning goals from long range.
With that in mind, it’s peculiar he isn’t higher up in the vote, even with such talented players ahead of him. Journalist Patrick Boyland believes Coutinho may be a better fit to replace a different Barca star:
Patrick Boyland @Paddy_Boyland
Coutinho would surely be better suited to eventually replacing Iniesta. Barca should be looking at Griezmann/Dembele to replace Neymar.2017-8-2 10:08:26
The issue Barcelona have will be getting these players in, even for a club of their calibre. Dybala and Coutinho both signed long-term deals recently, meaning they would command stratospheric sums of money. Plus, there will be no major intent on the part of Juventus or Liverpool to sell a key attacking cog.
But Barcelona, having lost such an important player, must make a massive acquisition between now and the end of the transfer window. It’ll be fascinating to see where they turn.