FC Barcelona Transfer Talk: 5 Playmaking Defenders Who'd Improve Barça

Andres Ehrli@@ehrliCorrespondent IIIAugust 8, 2011

FC Barcelona Transfer Talk: 5 Playmaking Defenders Who'd Improve Barça

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    Barça has one of the best squads in the world, but it could be argued that Pep Guardiola is still missing a play-making defender to play alongside Piqué and to eventually replace Puyol on the back-line.

    Pep Guardiola is considering both Mascherano and Abidal as defenders in the roster for 2011/12, and Andreu Fontás has been promoted from Barcelona B. So if my math is not wrong, that makes five central defenders for two positions.

    However, the only "true" play-making back Barça has right now is called Gerard Piqué, and while Fontás is promising and Marc Bartrá is waiting in the wings for an opportunity, adding another technically proficient centre-back wouldn't be half bad. 

    In this slideshow, we will simply name five options that could fit the bill as good centre-backs for the Blaugrana, with no regard whatsoever to whether or not Pep, Rossell and company actually have them in their sights as potential signings (even though they probably should).


    Author's note: This will be my final slideshow (unless someone can point out another potential improvement) in my series of the Role Players Who'd Improve Barça Tactically. 

    If you want to take a look at the other three slide-shows in this series, here they are: 5 Dribbling Wingers Who'd Improve Barça Tactically5 Post Forwards Who'd Improve Barça Tactically and 5 Attacking Left-Backs Who'd Improve Barça.  


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5. Thiago Silva (AC Milan)

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    Age: 26

    Nationality: Brazil

    Height: 1.83

    Team: AC Milan

    Transfer Market Value: €30 million

    Won't be sold for less than: €40 million


    Why he fits:

    Thiago Silva is a fantastic centre-back for sure, and has become the leading man in Milan next to Alessandro Nesta. His ball-playing skills have even let him play as a defensive midfielder, so he fits what Barcelona is looking for. 

    However, he is accustomed to defending very close to the keeper, while Barcelona defenders usually play way higher up the pitch. Something tells me this will be a huge problem for him if he ever plays for Barcelona.

    Case-in-point: he suffered at this year's Copa America with Brazil.  


    Transfer Value:

    His transfer value is around €30 to 40 million, and I doubt Milan will see him leave for a penny less than that.


    Overall Improvement Grade:  C

    He'd cost Barça 30 to 40 million euros, but I doubt he's worth that much. Especially if he's going to be used in a higher defensive line like Barça's. I'm thinking Chygrinskiy or Henrique 2.0 here.

4. Douglas Teixeira (FC Twente)

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    Age: 23

    Nationality: Brazil

    Height: 1.93

    Team: FC Twente

    Transfer Market Value: €9 million

    Won't be sold for less than: €15 million


    Why he fits:

    Douglas plays the ball like an attacking midfielder from the back line.

    The Brazilian's especially good at long balls, something Barcelona has lacked since losing Márquez. 

    To that it should be added that he's a physical beast, and at 1.93 tall, he's probably faster than Pique.

    However, his defensive skills and tactical awareness are not his strong points in any way.


    Transfer Value:

    He plays at a relatively unknown club and hasn't been called for the Brazil National Team, so his price should remain relatively low. 


    Overall Improvement Grade:  B-

    Physically, he's got everything you look for, and the price is not bad, either. But his mental side of the game is average at best. And that's not good.

    Does that remind you of someone? It should; recently sold Martin Caceres had the same trouble.

3. Neven Subotic (Borussia Dortmund)

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    Age: 22

    Nationality: Serbia/United States

    Height: 1.93

    Team: Borussia Dortmund

    Transfer Market Value: €20 million

    Won't be sold for less than: €25 million


    Why he fits:

    The American-born Serbian defender Neven Subotic is exactly what Barcelona wants.

    He's more than capable playing the ball from the back line, and defensively he's quite stout and is accustomed to playing high up the pitch with Borussia Dortmund.


    Transfer Value:

    Given how the transfer market values good defenders, Barça would need €25 million or more to get Subotic out of Dortmund. And that's a big price to pay. Ask Chygrinskiy.


    Overall Improvement Grade:  B

    He would be an improvement for sure. But would he be a €25 million improvement? Maybe. Or maybe not. 

2. Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)

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    Age: 22

    Nationality: Germany

    Height: 1.93

    Team: Borussia Dortmund

    Transfer Market Value: €30 million

    Won't be sold for less than: €35 million


    Why he fits:

    If you're going shopping to Westfallen Stadium, make sure you take the best defender. And while everything about Subotic applies to Mats Hummels, he's just better.

    You know Hummels is better because when you see him play, it's impossible not to think about Piqué.

    They're just so similar, it's mind-blowing. The technique, the aerial game, the physical presence...They all just seem to mimic Piqué's.

    However, he also has another Piqué-like quality: He's in love with his club. Hummels just won't leave Borussia Dortmund.  


    Transfer Value:

    The player doesn't want to leave and the club doesn't want to sell. So you'd need to splash €35 million or more and a large contract to try to tempt them into selling.


    Overall Improvement Grade:  B+

    He'd be an immediate improvement. But convincing him to leave Dortmund seems impossible at the moment. 

1. David Luiz (Chelsea FC)

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    Age: 24

    Nationality: Brazil

    Height: 1.88

    Team: Chelsea FC

    Transfer Market Value: €40 million

    Won't be sold for less than: €50 million


    Why he fits:

    I absolutely love David Luiz.

    If money didn't exist, he'd be the player I'd get for Barcelona.

    Physically and technically he's a beast, and can play in every single position from defensive midfielder to the back line, including left and right backs as well.

    And to top that, he's got a Puyol-like energy to him that's just so rare nowadays.


    Transfer Value:

    He'd be VERY expensive. Maybe €50 million. Maybe more. Depends on how Roman Abromivich's stocks wake up on that day. 


    Overall Improvement Grade:  A-

    If you wanted to improve immediately, get David Luiz. Even if he's €50 million he'd be worth it. 


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