With the announcing of Tito Vilanova being the successor of Pep Guardiola, there are high chances of transfers rumours to go flirting around. I have a few transfers that I think could help Barca remain strong through the whole of next season that they are rumouring to get. Apparently we have 50 million to spend (though according to some sites we may have more) so this money has to be spent wisely. Let’s see have we go...
We have all seen the struggles this season and well its been clear that Barcelona are really in desperate of a new defender. At the end of last season, there was still discussion on whether Cesc Fabregas was going to go back to his boyhood club and maybe a possible transfer for a striker. Giuseppe Rossi was a target of Pep's and the player himself was indeed interested in moving but it wasn't to be and instead we got Alexis Sanchez from Udinese who had a terrific season with the Italian club. Fabregas eventually moved to his boyhood club but there was still no CB move. Why? We could see that throughout of 2010-11, Puyol was constantly picking up injuries and Abidal had the liver tumour removed but Pep just thought that we did not need to spend 'big' or even little on a CB and thought the performances from Andreu Fontas with the reserves in that season would be enough to regain Barca's strength in the defence. Though throughout this season, we have again seen injuries to Puyol, Pique, Alves, Abidal and of course Adriano which has led for Mascherano and Busquests to cover up. Next season however this problems shouldn't occur if we have someone else who can be there to cover up if injuries occur.
So who could that CB be? Well Thiago Silva of AC Milan from season to season has been linked with us and well I think it's time for Tito to either buy him or leave him. This guy is relatively young and can play in the high defensive line. He has spent over 8 years playing with professional clubs and has played well for the past season or so and was claimed the best defender in the Italian league. His height is good enough and could easily be better than Javier Mascherano in the air for the high balls. This being said, his price is quite high, around 30m and could possibly be even higher. Another centre back we are rumoured with is Mats Hummels of Borussia Dortmund. A young, bright talent from Germany. Hummels is a tall centre back that is well known for his tackling, positioning and composure. He could definitely be a bonus with his height and could help us win the high balls though his fitness needs to improve dramatically as he is sometimes slow and definitely the likes of Ronaldo and Di Maria could definitely leave him barefooted. His price would be around 15-25m so he is a more cheaper and younger option than SIlva. Alberto Botia from Sporting Gijon who used to play with Barcelona though he only managed to stay for 2 seasons before moving to Gijon. He is another young defender who could definitely fit into the squad and could cost very little (5-15m). Like Hummels he is quite tall and definitely be more than useful with the high balls. His lack of experience and well he sometimes loses concentration which could lose us against the major teams though through improvement he could definitely be a future back. I also thought of signing Gary Cahill though a possible transfer would be unlikely as Chelsea are in desperate with defenders and well he is settling well with the club. His height, tackling and composure could do us well and he has had plenty of experience (though not with a major club) and is worth less than T.Silva though a possible transfer would be unlikely.
When Tito Vilanova first got the job, his first target he said was to get a left back. With the uncertainty of Eric Abidal future with the club because his liver and the injury prone Adriano, there is definitely a chance Tito will want to get someone. Jordi Alba is a possibility. The 23 year old Valencia fullback has been performing brilliantly and has been a regular starter in front of his French teammate Jeremy Mathieu at left back. Alba was a former product of Barcelona playing for 7 years in the youth academy before shipping off to Valenica. For me, Alba would easily be able to adapt to the 'Barca Way' and would help Barca in an attacking approach as the guy loves bombing up on the left hand flank and create havoc for the opposition defence and a pairing of two attacking fullbacks will round rings with opposition defences. He is quite cheap and Barca have on a few occasions have come close with a 10-15m deal for the Valencian fullback. However, Alba is not tall. He is around 5 foot 7 compared to Eric Abidal 6 foot 2 and would definitely be useless with the high ball and unlike Seydou Kieta he is not physically strong. He could be a good replacement for Eric Abidal though I prefer someone like Abidal who stays back sometimes, just in case with counter attacks which brings me into my next option. Jose Enrique from Liverpool. Jose Enrique is a Spanish left back who use to play with Valencia, Villarreal and Newcastle United before recently moving to Liverpool. Unlike Alba, he is more of a left back than an attacking fullback who stay relatively back in case of attacks from the opposition. He is relatively tall and could be easily contend for high balls. His passing, positioning and tackling have been impressive that could do Barcelona well in defence. Saying this, he loses concentration too easily and that could easily cost us the important games and well he is only Liverpool's left back. A transfer would be very unlikely though his price is quite low and would cost around the same as Alba. The other option is Spurs left winger Gareth Bale. Like Alba, he is an attacking fullback or a winger who has good pace and physical strength. He is taller than Abidal so he would definitely have more of a chance winning headers than most Barca defenders. He can take good free kicks and has a good eye for goal with a total of 27 goals in his 4 seasons at White Hart Lane. His price however is quite high and would probably cost Barca around 35m at the least and well he makes too many mistakes defending.
In midfield, we have plenty of depth with Xavi, Iniesta, Busquests, Kieta, Fabregas, Thiago and even Messi, Afellay and Mascherano. We have plenty and would find disappointment if Tito does buy someone in the midfield as there will be a lack of rotation and money will be wasted. If were to get someone in midfield we should look to youth as there are plenty of talent in the reserves that could easily fit into the system. Saying that, I do feel that Seydou Kieta should go. The 32 Malian has played ever since Pep Guardiola took over Barcelona and is usually introduced to waste time and his physical strength are useful in the last dying minutes. Though he gives away the ball too many times because of his luck of vision and creativity. He is also used by Pep Guardiola in the wrong situations such as needing a goal. Seydou's lack of creativity and vision would not us if we needed a goal and find Pep's admiration for Kieta sometimes costed some games. Seydou is getting far too old and is letting a player such as Jonathan Dos Santos or Kiko getting a spot into the Barcelona squad. Apparently Malaga are offering 10 million for Kieta which I find a bargain and if I was Tito I would be definitely be tempted to sell him though a deal for Thiago Silva with an exchange of Kieta would be the better option though whether Milan are willing to seel Silva is entirely another matter.
Up front, well I can say that we have been a bit too reliant with Lionel Messi. Pedro may be finding the back of the net lately but throughout the whole season he has been disappointing and somehow misses clear cut goal scoring opportunities. Sanchez has scored more goals than Pedro but again has missed too many goal scoring opportunities. Villa has missed out half the season though when playing hasn't taken his chances. Fabregas started well and his link up play with Messi created goals though throughout the second half of the season, Cesc didn't take his chances and definitely missed dollies that went over the crossbar and into the 42nd row. Isaac Cuenca has been good though he is not a goal scorer more of a winger who creates goals. Tello has scored a few goals off the bench though he doesn't perform when starting which is a worry. Could this be just be a bad season for the lads but there has been talk that its necessary to get someone who can take their opportunities. For me, I don't like the idea as we have a lot of strikers/wingers and getting another one would just mean loss of talent would have to be sold. But I guess we only have one true striker (David Villa) though he has been placed on the left flank so I guess getting a striker wouldn't be too bad as it would help to keep the burden off Messi. Fernando Llorente has been talked about over the media with a possible to the Nou Camp as well as Dutchman Robin Van Persie. Personally I find these two players not the ideal people as this would mean they would be shifted to the flanks or Messi would be shifted to the flank. Either way, talent will be wasted. I find that Llorente/RVP would not be suited with the 'tika-taka' playing style of Barca and well they would definitely be wasted on the wing. I find that Messi is at his peak in the middle of the park, coming back for balls, linking up with Xavinesta or Fabriago and he would be sometimes a mere shadow in the game and would be as dangerous as in the middle (as he shown when switched with Ibra in 2010). Fernando or Robin are great players though I do think they would be a waste of money. Barca could also look to the B team (as they did this season with Tello and Cuenca) and possibly bring in Rodri or Rafinha if injuries do play a part next season though I find it very unlikely.
The only area I guess I haven't talked about is in goals. Victor Valdes has been the main man and has done Barca well though we have seen that he sometimes lacks concentration and stuffs up goals. I guess Barca will eventually have to look for a backup (then later on regular) goalkeeper as Jose Pinto is getting quite old and his ball distribution is less than par and makes me close my eyes when he gets the ball. He often leaves his near post uncovered giving a goal opportunity more likely to be a 'goal'. Saying that, he has recently put in some good performances and some have claimed he is a better shot stopper than Valdes. Let’s hope he keeps up the performances as errors and errors that lead to goals will cost him the transfer. If Tito is looking for a long term replacement I find that Oier Olazabal would definitely be up for the job. Oier has been a regular starter for the B's and his performances have shown that he is definitely up for the job starting in the Copa Del Rey games as well as those occasional starters in the league. The 22 year old renewed his contract with Barca this season which may lead him a permanent place in the Spanish side. If this is too happen then we will definitely see competition for spots in goals.
Promoting youngesters from the B's? Well I find that Montoya has proven throughout this season that he is an ideal replacement for Alves. Consistent performer and for me should have been in the side this season. He is great to have as he can play on either sides of the football pitch and still perform at the top level. Muniesa has had a consistent season with the B's last season as well as this season and when he has come on for Barca he has shown no sign of nerves. He has talent and can play on the left flank as well as in the middle of defence. His height may disadvantage us and well he still needs time to adapt to be the 'next Puyol' though through practise I have the condifence that he will be a regular starter. Marc Barta has also been talked about with his contract with Barca though I find that he may need just one more season with the B's for several reasons. First of all, letting go of two of the B's best defenders as well as a possible third will defiantely create issues with the defence and a lack of experience could lose us matches. Keeping Barta will help the B's lineup with Gomez be more stable. I find that with the promotions of two ideal youngesters (Montoya and Muniesa) as well as a possible transfer for T.Silva or Hummels, the youngesters will definately have limited amount of playing time and in my opinion, Marc will definately be signalled out every time. If Puyol leaves or Fontas in that matter in the next season or two, we may see a promotion though I don't find a possible promotion very wise. His height will definately advantage us though he will have limited amount of playing time if TIto has his plans to perfection. Jonathan Dos Santos (JDS as some like to call him) is the only midfielder in TIto eyes that may get the opportunity to get a promotion. He has played well in the holding midfield position and he knows the 'Barca Way' though I do find that he may not get the opportunities that he would like and find himself like his brother and go somewhere else for first team experience. If Kieta goes, than I would see a possible promotion though if Martinez comes than chances of playing are very limited. As for Christian Tello, well I do think he may get an opportunity to pla some games though I would find another season helpful to become a better player. He needs to perform well when starting as we have seen how much of a useless player he is when he has started. Saying that, like Ibrahim Afellay, he makes an impact when he comes on. We may see a possible promotion though I would like him to stay another season and then come on as I would see the likes of David Villa and Afellay going somewhere else to find first team experience.
Overall, I think there are definitely areas that Tito Vilanova can improve especially in defence. For me, Thiago Silva, Jordi Alba, Jose Enrique, Mats Hummels and Javi Martinez wouldn't be too bad to have in the side. Maybe we may not be able to get all of these players but getting at least two of them would definitely boost us and help us to win either the league or the Champions League trophy. I will leave the option to you though for the meantime Visca el Barça
93 votes total
This does not represent the views of Barca Blaugranes or SBNation