Ranking Barcelona's Transfer Rumours on Excitement Factor

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2017

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 14: Marco Verratti of PSG in action during UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona at Parc des Princes on February 14, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Barcelona's 2016/17 campaign didn't go exactly as planned, as despite winning the Supercopa de Espana and Copa del Rey, they finished behind archrivals and eventual winners Real Madrid in the two competitions that matter most: La Liga and the UEFA Champions League.

As a result, and also as a consequence of a planned managerial change that sees Ernesto Valverde take over from Luis Enrique, there will be new faces arriving at the Camp Nou ahead of 2017/18.

The Catalan side will attempt to launch an assault on all competitions again and need a few new faces to do so—but which of the rumoured transfer targets will excite the fans the most?

Our comprehensive roundup of the latest rumours orders targets on excitement factor, which can be as a result of a big spend, filling a gap in the squad or simply an individual with incredible talent.

      

10. Yerry Mina

A Colombian central defender who has been tracked by Barcelona for some time, Yerry Mina has watchers of South American football talking about his mature approach and high potential.

Brazil's Palmeiras player Yerry Mina celebrates after scoring a goal against Uruguay's Penarol during their Libertadores Cup football match at the Campeones del Siglo Stadium in Montevideo on April 26, 2017.  / AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL ROJO        (Photo credit
MIGUEL ROJO/Getty Images

Joaquim Piera of Spanish outlet Sport reported that, if the club's technical staff still feel he's up to scratch, Mina will be moving to the Camp Nou—but not for at least another year.

A €9 million agreement is in place with his club, Palmeiras, but Mina won't move until after the 2018 World Cup, at which he will likely star for Colombia if his form remains impressive.

With Jeremy Mathieu expected to leave, Thomas Vermaelen having spent last year on loan after making just 21 appearances for Barca in the previous two seasons and Javier Mascherano ageing, there's a space for a new centre-back at Barca, but Mina will have to be patient to seal his move.

     

9. Lucas Lima

There's already an agreement in place for Barca to sign Lucas Lima, according to reports from Fox Sports Brazil (h/t Football Espana).

/Getty Images

The Santos attacking midfielder is out of contract in December, and the expectation is he'll move to the Camp Nou on a free transfer.

A good piece of business, perhaps, given the potential sell-on fee if he doesn't become part of the first-team scene, but is it one to excite the fans? Not really.

Lima is 26, has just a handful of caps for Brazil and this would be his first real foray into Europe, aside from a trial with Racing Santander earlier in his career. Those who don't watch his game or know his style might be forgiven for thinking the club needs a rather more high-profile signing this summer.

     

8. Davinson Sanchez

Mina isn't the only young centre-back on the radar; Ajax's Davinson Sanchez almost became a Barcelona player last year, as Ed Malyon reported for the Daily Mirror, and the interest seemingly hasn't gone away.

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - MAY 24: Davinson Sanchez of Ajax in action during the UEFA Europa League final match between Ajax and Manchester United at Friends Arena on May 24, 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

James Cambridge of the Daily Express reported how the feeling is mutual, with comments made by Sanchez on Cadena SER radio highlighting that he would like to wear the Catalan side's shirt in seasons to come.

He's an exciting player, for sure, but the capture and subsequent success of Samuel Umtiti in summer 2016 means centre-back is no longer a priority area for Barca, and fans' appreciation of such rumours are likely to be lowered as a result.

Sanchez may well yet end up at Barca, but the Europa League finalist might be another who has to wait his turn.

     

7. Gerard Deulofeu

One of the first signings of the season for Barcelona could turn out to be a player they let go back in 2015.

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 21:  Gerard Deulofeu of AC Milan celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Bologna FC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 21, 2017 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Deulofeu has been at Everton, on loan then permanently, and last season impressed while at AC Milan for the second half of the campaign.

Simon Jones of MailOnline reported that Barca will opt to reclaim Deulofeu thanks to a £10.5 million buyback clause in the sale agreement.

Will he excite? Probably not because he's not good enough or consistent enough to challenge Neymar for a regular place and is more than likely to be signed to be sold on yet again—at an inflated fee for a quick profit.

It's a legitimate strategy from Barca but not one to get fans applauding the club's summer transfer intentions.

      

6. Nelson Semedo

Barcelona will surely add a right-back this summer after the post-Dani Alves world simply didn't look as good.

Portuguese full-back Nelson Semedo was a target for Manchester United, but Barcelona have now earmarked the £43 million-rated defender as their ideal option, Record reported (h/t Metro).

LISBON, PORTUGAL - MAY 28: Benfica's defender Nelson Semedo from Portugal during the match between SL Benfica and Vitoria SC for the Portuguese Cup Final at Estadio Nacional on May 28, 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)
Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

With the likes of Joao Cancelo previously linked, as Sport noted, and neither Sergi Roberto nor Aleix Vidal impressing to the extent that the position is locked down, it seems unthinkable that there won't be at least one arrival this summer at right-back.

It's a huge fee for the Benfica man, though, and with Barcelona needing reinforcements elsewhere, it remains to be seen whether they follow through on the reported interest.

      

5. Paulinho

Out of nothing, Barca have been linked with a move for Paulinho, formerly of Tottenham Hotspur and now at Guangzhou Evergrande in the Chinese Super League.

GUANGZHOU, CHINA - MARCH 14:  Paulinho #8 of Guangzhou Evergrande looks on during 2017 AFC Asian Champions League group match between Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao F.C. and Kawasaki Frontale at Tianhe Sports Center on March 14, 2017 in Guangzhou, China.  (P
Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

Bruno Andrade of Goal reported the midfielder is so high on Barca's wishlist they've already opened talks with his club.

Paulinho has become a key member of Tite's Brazil XI, with the national-team boss utilising his powerful runs from deep and ability to switch play in the middle.

He'd represent a change in approach for Barcelona, as he has much more athleticism and strength than the likes of Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta, and it would also raise questions over the future involvement of Andre Gomes, only at Barca for one year.

The move would probably excite the fans, perhaps more because it hints at a more forceful midfield approach than was the case under Enrique.

      

4. Miralem Pjanic

If Paulinho doesn't excite as a new arrival in the middle of the park, Miralem Pjanic should.

CARDIFF, WALES - JUNE 03: Miralem Pjanic of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League Final between Juventus and Real Madrid at National Stadium of Wales on June 3, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

The Juventus man has starred in Serie A for several seasons, at AS Roma before Juve, and his all-around game makes him a great attraction to teams of any style, as well as his underrated physical capacity and tremendous set-piece prowess.

Pjanic is a contingency plan for Barca if they don't sign another midfielder, according to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Football Espana), but having moved to Turin last year for just €32 million, it's a fair bet he'd cost near double that amount now.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina international won a domestic double with Juve last term and was a beaten Champions League finalist against Real Madrid.

Excitement all around, then.

      

3. Hector Bellerin

A long-running saga's conclusion can be a relief as much as cause for excitement, and that might be the case when Hector Bellerin inevitably joins Barca, much as was the case with Cesc Fabregas many moons ago.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 27: Hector Bellerin of Arsenal during the Emirates FA Cup Final match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on May 27, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Bellerin is an obvious target for Barca, being one of their former youth stars and a right-back, where they need an upgrade, but the latest reports aren't positive for the Catalan side.

Malyon on Tuesday reported in The Independent Arsenal will not sell and are confident the player wants to remain in London despite the potential for a £45 million move.

Pace, offensive intent, decent ability in the final third and aggressive defensive work, he's the archetypal Barcelona player, and the fans would love another of "their own" to come back.

      

2. Marco Verratti

If Bellerin's potential switch is a saga, we need a whole new word for the Verratti chase.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 08:  Marco Verratti of Paris Saint-Germain in action  with Andres Iniesta during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain at Camp Nou on March 8, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.
Xavier Laine/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain's finest is a midfielder who is considered the natural heir to Xavi and Iniesta in style, ability and technique—and is perhaps more complete in his capacity to play holding or more offensive roles.

The French club aren't willing negotiators, however.

Angelo Taglieri of Calciomercato (h/t Coral Barry of Metro) reported that Verratti and Barca have already agreed terms and that the midfielder has informed his club he wants to leave. But it's said there's no moving PSG—even with a price tag of over £80 million.

If he signs, it'd be a big statement and fans would have huge optimism over the Italian's potential success at the Camp Nou.

      

1. Ousmane Dembele

Top of them all, though, is the electric forward Ousmane Dembele.

BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 27: Ousmane Dembele of Dortmund controls the ball during the DFB Cup final match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Dortmund at Olympiastadion on May 27, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

There aren't many forwards in football who could dream of displacing any one of Barca's front three—Neymar, Luis Suarez and Leo Messi—but Dembele would be close. He could fill in for any of them and, at 20, has the youth and ceiling to eventually make a spot his own.

Bild (h/t Alex Richards of the Daily Mirror) reported Borussia Dortmund have rejected Barca's opening bid of £44 million for Dembele but that sporting director Robert Fernandez has since met with the player's representatives anyway.

It could take up to £80 million to sign him, but his incredible talent makes him seem worth the outlay, and he would be one to get the fans on their feet—as soon as he puts pen to paper, let alone gets out on the pitch.

     

Facebook.com/karlmatchett.football

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