4 Players Barcelona Should Target from Euro 2016

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2016

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 15: Elseid Hysaj of Albania in action during the UEFA Euro 2016 Group A match between France and Albania at Stade Velodrome on June 15, 2016 in Marseille, France.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Barcelona's summer spending has already gotten under way, with Samuel Umtiti and Denis Suarez both confirmed to move to the Camp Nou for 2016-17.

There will be further additions and one or two exits, too, as Luis Enrique seeks to have his squad shaped for challenges on all three fronts again next season—and on something of a budget, too, with Josep Bartomeu acknowledging a €60 million spending constraint for this summer. 

After the Umtiti (€25m) and Suarez (€3.25m) deals, plus the sale of Marc Bartra to Borussia Dortmund for €8m, Barca are looking at completing the expansion of their squad for a net of around €40 million.

Umtiti has been on duty with France at Euro 2016 over the summer, coming in to play the quarter-final and semi-final at centre-back, and he won't have been the only player Barca have their eye on at the tournament.

Here, we take a look at four further options they will have been impressed with, accounting for both the financial constraints and the positions they are somewhat light in.


Elseid Hysaj

Dani Alves' departure to Juventus means Barca's well-established back line will have at least one regular change in it next term, and few right-backs impressed at Euro 2016—in the group stage, at least—as much as Elseid Hysaj did.

LENS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Elseid Hysaj of Albania in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group A match between Albania and Switzerland at Stade Bollaert-Delelis on June 11, 2016 in Lens, France.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

The Albanian plays in Serie A with Napoli and has quickly established himself as one of the best in the Italian top flight—in both halves of the pitch. His strong athletic quality somewhat mirrors Alves' ability to contribute heavily in attack yet still recover his position when Barcelona lose possession high upfield and have to defend the counter.

Technically proficient, adept at both crossing and short passing infield in the final third and an aggressive runner with the ball, Hysaj—at 22 years of age—will likely be one of Europe's finest in the position over the next few years.

Barcelona aren't consistently linked with a right-back at present, having Aleix Vidal and Sergi Roberto to fight it out for game time in the position, but neither are naturals, and both have filled in there rather than it being their predominant role.

Chances of signing: Reasonably remote. Napoli would demand a high fee and missed out on right-back target Sime Vrsaljko, as reported by TalkSport, to Atletico Madrid. Hysaj is certainly worth it, though.


Alessandro Florenzi

If Italy-based Hysaj proves unobtainable, the national team's first-choice has already proved alluring to the Catalans. Barcelona fans need no reminding of Alessandro Florenzi after his 40-metre goal against them in the UEFA Champions League last season, but he's a different option altogether to play right-back.

Florenzi plays wing-back for Italy in a 3-5-2 system, having defensive responsibility for the flank but also having plenty more cover infield of him. At AS Roma, he has played both on the flank of midfield and at right-back in a four-man defence.

Extremely quick, strong despite a slight frame and with enormous technical ability, Florenzi at right-back is exactly like having a winger attacking from deep—again posing similarities to Alves from the earlier days of his career.

Barcelona were in fact linked with Florenzi ahead of the winter transfer window, with the Italian saying he was "honoured" by the interest, per Corriere dello Sport (h/t ESPN FC's Ben Gladwell), but no move materialised at the time.

Chances of signing: Roma might sell for a large price, but Florenzi has shown great consistency in his performances over several seasons. It's a stretch, but the apparent interest is long-standing. It could happen.


Joshua Kimmich

Alternatively, Barca might indeed choose to keep faith and trust in Sergi Roberto and Vidal—as long as there's another versatile option in the squad who can fill in at right-back when required.

In that case, the other areas they need bodies include holding midfield and an alternative to Gerard Pique as the right-sided centre-back, with Umtiti, Javier Mascherano, Thomas Vermaelen and Jeremy Mathieu all being far more at home on the left of centre.

Joshua Kimmich has impressed everybody at Euro 2016, raiding forward from right-back and showing good defensive work, too, but that's a third role for him really—he was signed by Bayern Munich as a holding midfielder and ended up being a starter for Pep Guardiola in the centre of defence.

BORDEAUX, FRANCE - JULY 02:  Joshua Kimmich of Germany runs with the ball during the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter final match between Germany and Italy at Stade Matmut Atlantique on July 2, 2016 in Bordeaux, France.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

The 21-year-old is a prodigious talent, hailed by none other than Guardiola as outstanding, per the Mirror's Tyrone Marshall, and he needs to play. At Barca, he wouldn't necessarily usurp Sergio Busquets or Pique immediately, but he could certainly play a huge volume of games rotating between the three positions as needed.

A composed player with great vision and able to play with both feet, he's a perfect fit for Barcelona—and for the club he's already at, of course.

Chances of signing: Near zero this summer, unless Barca are prepared to pay as much or more than Bayern themselves paid for Renato Sanches and able to raise it through sales. That won't stop them admiring him or taking notes for next summer, though.


Arkadiusz Milik

One final position requires attention this summer from Barcelona, and that's centre-forward. Specifically, a back-up player for Luis Suarez, the European Golden Shoe winner of last season—but who missed participating in the Copa America over the summer as a result of injury, despite being named in the Uruguay squad.

A young forward, able to play solo centrally and score goals but not demanding of a starting spot every week is the requirement; at Euro 2016, there weren't many who fit the bill, but Poland's Arkadiusz Milik ticks almost every box.

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - JUNE 30: Arkadiusz Milik of Poland scores his penalty during the penalty shootout concluding the UEFA Euro 2016 quarter final match between Poland and Portugal at Stade Velodrome on June 30, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Jean Ca
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

He's a more powerful, combative presence through the middle than Suarez, but Barca don't need a carbon copy. His finishing is instinctive, and he has been a reliable scorer for Ajax. Best of all, he is seemingly on the market for a move this summer—CalcioNapoli24 reported that he might soon be a team-mate of the aforementioned Elseid Hysaj (h/t Football-Italia).

Chances of signing: They'll need to be quick, but Milik is doubtless available considering Ajax's selling tendencies. He would be a cheaper and more reliable scoring alternative to current rumoured target Angel Correa, per AS (h/t Sport)—though not as exciting or with as high a ceiling.


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