Barcelona Transfer News: Latest Rumours on Stephan Lichtsteiner and Aleix Vidal

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistOctober 8, 2016

TURIN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 10:  Stephan Lichtsteiner (R) of Juventus FC is tackled by Francesco Acerbi of US Sassuolo during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and US Sassuolo at Juventus Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Juventus full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner could reportedly be Aleix Vidal's replacement at Barcelona if the latter leaves the club during the January transfer window or in the summer.

That's according to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Football Italia), who reported the 32-year-old is only under contract until the end of this season and expected to leave the Bianconeri.

Nicola Balice of Calciomercato previously reported the Catalans were interested in the Switzerland international. Other potential destinations include Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, although Juventus would prefer not to sell to an Italian rival and blocked such a move during the summer.

Juventus' defender from Switzerland Stephan Lichtsteiner (R) vies with AC Milan's defender from Italy Mattia De Sciglio during the Italian Tim Cup final football match AC Milan vs Juventus on May 21, 2016 at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.    AFP PHOTO / TIZ
TIZIANA FABI/Getty Images

Lichtsteiner has been with Juventus since 2011 and for years was the team's automatic starter at the right-back position or on the right wing in their 3-5-2 formation. He split time with Juan Cuadrado last year and has been reduced to an even smaller role following the arrival of Dani Alves last summer.

Juventus left him off their UEFA Champions League list, meaning he would be eligible to play for the Blaugrana in Europe even if he joined in January.

Here's a look at some of his highlights:

The former Lazio man is an energetic player with an incredible engine and exceptional range. In Juventus' 3-5-2 system, he routinely sprints from one end of the pitch to the other, covering huge distances every single match.

Defensively, he's very sound and rarely gets caught out, while on the other side of the pitch, he uses his stamina to wear out defenders and always looks for the back line. He regularly contributes to the scoring as well, but he is at his best when he gets to fire in cross after cross.

Lichtsteiner's absence from the Champions League list was a huge shock and a hint the Bianconeri could be looking to sell in January, rather than risk him joining another Italian club in the summer.

While he's not a world-class option any longer and wouldn't be an automatic starter for the Catalans, Lichtsteiner would be an excellent depth option as a replacement for Vidal. The Spaniard has barely played in the 2016-17 campaign, and a departure seems almost inevitable at this point.

Barcelona's defender Aleix Vidal gestures during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs Deportivo Alaves at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 10, 2016. / AFP / LLUIS GENE        (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images
LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

Mundo Deportivo (h/t AS English) suggested Vidal has already told some of his team-mates he's ready to leave the club in January, and manager Luis Enrique has been unimpressed with the full-back's effort in training.

The fact he hasn't even made the Barcelona squad for their last six matches indicates Enrique no longer trusts the 27-year-old, and it would make sense to cash in sooner rather than later, as his value can only drop without consistent playing time.

Here's a look at what Vidal can do:

If the Catalans do end up parting with Vidal, Lichtsteiner would make a cost-effective replacement who would add experience and defensive skill to the position. As a short-term option, the Swiss defender makes a lot of sense, particularly if Barcelona can sign him on a free transfer.

Sergi Roberto has been excellent as a starter, so Barcelona don't have to spend a lot of money on a major star or plan for the future. Lichtsteiner may not be the flashiest acquisition, but such a signing isn't necessary at this point.

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