Barcelona 2017/18: The £100m trio of Liverpool, AC Milan and Valencia stars that should be on Camp Nou shopping listPublished December 20, 2016
Despite possessing a star-studded first XI the envy of many sides across the globe, Barcelona will head into LaLiga’s winter break three points behind title rivals Real Madrid- and having played a game more.
The reasons for this are manifold- a series of debilitating injuries to key players such as Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi immediately springs to mind- however, one of the key differences between Los Blancos and Barca at the moment lies in the superior squad depth of the former.
At the Bernabeu, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are supported by able deputies in Mateo Kovacic and James Rodriguez, while Karim Benzema’s place as the lone frontman in Zidane’s favoured 4-3-3 is under threat from Spain international.
Barcelona simply don’t have such resources to call upon from the bench, with a summer spending spree targeted at bringing in quality fringe players so far failing to pay off in any palpable way, shape or form.
With that in mind, here are a number of players they could target to improve their squad.
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Right-back: Joao Cancelo (Valencia) or Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)
A problem position for the Blaugrana ever since Dani Alves’ departure for Juventus, the urgent need for a new first-choice right-back was satiated somewhat by Sergi Roberto’s successful conversion from midfielder to marauding full-back.
The fact remains though, that if youngster gets injured, Barcelona are poorly equipped to deal with his absence, as Aleix Vidal closes in on a move away from the Camp Nou.
Luis Enrique and his technical staff are well aware of the lack of cover at right-back and have already reportedly drawn up a shortlist containing the likes of Valencia’s Joao Cancelo, Hector Bellerin of Arsenal and Dario Srna of Shakhtar Donetsk.
Of the two, Cancelo appears the most likely, with Catalan newspaper Sport suggesting that Barca will wait until the summer before adding the highly-rated Portuguese defender to their ranks for a fee of around £20 million.
Attacking midfield: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
As Andres Iniesta moves into the twilight of his career, attention must now turn to finding a long-term successor for the Azulgrana stalwart.
One of the names consistently linked with a move to the Camp Nou is Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, with the Brazilian dazzling for Jurgen Klopp’s side during the first half of the Premier League season.
A figure in excess of £60 million has been mooted for the 24-year-old as the Reds desperately seek to keep hold of the driving force behind their title surge.
CF- Carlos Bacca (AC Milan)
Paco Alcacer’s summer arrival in Catalonia has done little to ease the burden on Barca’s MSN trident, with the ex-Valencia man yet to score in a competitive game since joining the club.
A goal-poacher lacking the ability to stretch defences and link play as Enrique would like, Alcacer is already in danger of losing his place in the matchday squad for matches after the winter break.
As such, cover for Messi, Suarez and Neymar is pretty much essential, with AC Milan’s Carlos Bacca the latest striker to be mentioned as a potential target.
Reports emanating from both Spain and Italy claim the 29-year-old Colombian is on the Blaugrana’s radar- and a potential swap deal sending Alcacer the other way is one potential option available to the Catalan giants.