Barcelona Transfer Rumors: 10 Biggest Names Linked to Camp Nou This Summer
Between now and the start of next season, Barcelona has two things to worry about: achieving their short-term goals and strengthening the squad in the summer.
No matter how successful the Catalans are during the season, the club always look to add to their squad in whatever position they can and are always in the market for the world's top players.
This summer will be no exception, especially if Real Madrid steal the honors that Barcelona hope to claim once again. And there is no shortage of men for the Blaugrana to pursue with their deep pockets.
In the spirit of speculation, let us look at 10 men who have a good chance of heading to Camp Nou at the end of the season.
Robin van Persie
Van Persie continues to score and score for Arsenal, and he is the very lifeblood of the side; the Gunners just cannot afford to lose him this summer.
But if he decides that he wants a new challenge in his career, Barcelona—whose best forward at the moment, David Villa, is injured and aging quickly—would be an ideal destination.
His movement, finishing and technical ability would be perfectly suited to the Catalans' style of play. Plus, the chance to reunite with friend Cesc Fabregas would certainly be tantalizing.
The Da Silva Brothers
Pep Guardiola is apparently looking to bring the Da Silva twins to the Camp Nou, according to CaughtOffside.
With Eric Abidal out for an indeterminate length of time due to his recent liver transplant, Barcelona could certainly do with some reinforcement at left back, and the Da Silvas would certainly provide that.
And due to their valuable versatility, either of the brothers could fill in for Dani Alves on the right if Guardiola wants to give him a rest.
Supporters would surely not be disappointed by the first-class work rate that both Rafael and Fabio possess, either.
If Barcelona want to find a replacement for Carles Puyol when he retires—or even insure against the potential departure of Gerard Pique—they do not have to look any further than Valencia's Adil Rami.
Rami is just the sort of defender that every team could use: stout, tough, uncompromising and a powerful leader.
He would certainly fit in well in a back line that misses Puyol's steel when the experienced center-back is out.
If Barcelona want an entirely different type of center-back than Adil Rami, they will find him in David Luiz.
The club have been rumored to be interested in making an obscenely high bid for the Brazilian defender, and if Chelsea miss out on Champions League football next season, Luiz might feel a strong sense of wanderlust.
He will benefit greatly from the stabilizing and stern presence of Carles Puyol at the back, which will both discipline him and allow him to venture forward as he so often likes to do.
Whether Barca would want a defender who can't, you know, defend is something of a mystery, though.
If Barcelona want a more powerful striker than Robin van Persie, they do not have to venture outside of La Liga, for Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente is reportedly available.
The 27-year-old Spain international has had a fantastic season for both club and country, impressing in victories over Manchester United in the Europa League and during the whole season in La Liga.
Llorente would bring all of the height and power that Barcelona wanted when the club brought in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but his timid and humble personality would ensure that there would be no personality clashes like those that Ibra got into during his short tenure in Spain.
With Eric Abidal out for an extended period of time due to the previously-mentioned liver transplant, it would not be surprising if Pep Guardiola looked to bring in an experienced left back to replace the Frenchman's lost production.
A very good candidate to step into that left back slot would be Chelsea's Ashley Cole, and there is rumored interest from both sides about a possible transfer.
Though Cole has lost some of the pace he once had, he is one of the best in the world at his position and would provide a considerable boost to Barcelona's defence.
If Seydou Keita completes any of his reported moves away from Barcelona, the club will need to add depth to its midfield ranks. And few players would be better additions than Javi Martinez.
The young Spaniard has impressed for Athetlic Bilbao this season in a similar role as Keita, and he would easily be able to slot into Barcelona's fluid style of play due to his experience in the Spanish national team setup.
It is no surprise, then, that the Catalans are linked with a move for Martinez, who would be able to fill in at any position across the midfield whenever Pep Guardiola calls upon him. A reported price tag of €40 million will be a significant stumbling block, though.
It seems that Eric Abidal's absence has triggered a veritable wave of left back rumors, as yet another man has been linked with Barcelona to fill his void.
This time it is Valencia's Jordi Alba, who has performed admirably for his side this season and reportedly impressed Pep Guardiola in so doing.
He has worked his way into the Spanish national team this season, which is no small feat, and his Catalonian heritage can only help him fit in if he does complete a move to Barcelona.
This would be a very intelligent acquisition if the clubs can work out a reasonable transfer fee for Alba.
Thankfully, there have not been any new chapters in the Neymar transfer saga for a while, but many still believe that the Brazilian superstar will be playing for either Real Madrid or Barcelona next season.
Yes, Santos extended his contract until the conclusion of the 2014 World Cup, but few believe that this is anything more than a desperate, symbolic gesture.
The fact is that Neymar's talents are too great for Brazil, and he deserves to be playing under the bright lights of either the Bernabeu or the Camp Nou. And for months, there have been numerous stories indicating that the player will choose the Catalonia over the capital.
While the Brazlian may not be better than Lionel Messi, as one bloviator claims, he is definitely one of the best young players in the world and can shine alongside the Argentine.
Tottenham's flopping wing sensation Gareth Bale is frequently linked to Barcelona, and it is not hard to see why: His marauding wing play and superb technical ability would fit in perfectly with the Catalans' style of play.
Even though Bale would cost tens of millions of pounds, if there is one club that can afford it (besides Manchester City) it is Barcelona, who never stop looking for young, world-class talent.
And the thought of a wing tandem of Alexis Sanchez and Gareth Bale is downright scary for the rest of Europe. As a football fan, though, it makes me drool just a little.
Finally, Barcelona would have a player with the pace to keep up with someone like Cristiano Ronaldo.