After our failure to secure the signature of Thiago Silva from A.C. Milan this Summer, it's obvious that a new, top class center back must be bought for Barcelona to stay on top of European football. With El Capitan, Carles Puyol, injured once more, it's apparent that he is not a reliable anymore. Pique is an excellent center-half, but his problems with concentration are well noted, and his injury troubles put us at a very distinct disadvantage. Besides these two, we have Mascherano, but anyone else played at center-back is just a bandage for the problem.
So, options? I'll list a few here, using a combination of Fifa13's player search engine, my own research, and common sense.
23, 26, and 26 respectively, I see these three as the best candidates if you were looking at players already plying their trade in La Liga. Botia has Barca pedigree, and has really come good over the past two seasons, particularly in his current spell at Sevilla. Rami has been a consistent performer for Valencia, is a French National Team starter, and has the height we lack. Valued at around 14 million euros, he wouldn't break the bank, but I see him as unlikely to leave just because Valencia has lost so many players over the past few seasons. Godin, from Atletico Madrid, has been looked at by Chelsea and Liverpool in the EPL, and has plenty of pace. At 12 million euros, he'd be fairly inexpensive, but to be honest I don't have the largest base of experience watching him.
I'll be honest, watching David Luiz last season for Chelsea, I though he was one big joke. And then they won the Champions League...due to defending. This kid, while being no stranger to some HOWLERS, has all the ingredients to be a world class center back. He can run forward yet still recover on defense. He has a stunning shot from distance. He has tremendous pace. He's deceptively strong and agile. He has height and brilliant hair. The cons? Well, he did just sign a new five year deal, and he'd be quite expensive. However, growing speculation over Ramos's future at Madrid has Chelsea preparing a massive bid for the Spanish international. Unlikely as it is, if that went through, Chelsea would have Cahill, Terry, Ramos, Ivanovic, and Luiz, as well as a number of youth prospects. That makes a move much more likely. Vermaelen and Koscielny are both passing-centric, attack minded defenders with plenty of pace. Plus, they come from our good friends at the Emirates, and would add to our growing former Gunner contingent at the club. Verm's also Arsenal's captain, so bonus points if we sign him. Please note, I left off all Liverpool players, because they're utter shite. Also, because everything I read stated they do not want to leave Pool at all.
In Germany: Benedikt Howedes, Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic, that Greek guy Papapapadapapadapadababaladapodous
Howedes has versatility and youth. Hummels is a top 3 back in the world right now. Subotic is a MONSTER. And evidently that greek guy is pretty good for Schalke.
France: Mahmadou Sakho, Yanga-M'Biwa, Dejan Lovren
Sakho's my pick of the lot, but we'd have to pay for him because of his youth and first team place at PSG. Yanga-M'Biwa is young, versatile, and looks like a rapist, plus his name would be hard to type repeatedly on this site (a benefit to having so much flack going around about Alex Song. His name is very fun to write). Lovren is a solid Croatian CB who plays for Olympic Lyonnaise. At 6'2" and only 23 years old, he's an attractive prospect for the future. He just isn't very high profile, and his contract goes until 2016.
Brazilian monster, I have no idea how we haven't signed him already.
Alright, so there are a few ideas. I'd love your thoughts. Personally, I'd just kidnap Thiago Silva from PSG and force him to change his name, but that seems somewhat unlikely.