After a season of bad defending, FC Barcelona will look to add a top centre back now that the transfer window is officially open.
While there have been rumors about various CBs coming to the Camp Nou, it appears that it may come down to three players to fill the spot-all of whom are Brazilian: Thiago Silva, David Luiz, and Marquinhos.
So, which Brazilian is more likely to join el blaugrana?
Let's look at the options.
We all know that Tito Vilanova prefers Thiago Silva to join the club. And why not? He's arguably the best CB in the world. But he's also the most expensive in the world.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are prepared to offer Paris Saint-Germain €42 million for the 28-year-old. But Thiago will also have to approach PSG, and let them know that he wants a move to Barca. Reports are also saying that Sandro Rosell has sent his go-to negotiator Raul Sanllehí to Brazil to talk to Silva into a Barca move. After the Confederations Cup final, Thiago Silva told the media (via The Sun) he has spoken to Tito Vilanova, and that Tito asked him to join Barcelona. "At the Champions League game between PSG and Barca, we had a brief chat and he invited me to go and play for them."
Will Tito get his wish, and land Thiago Silva? Time will tell.
Personally, I think it's too much money for an injury-prone defender. Don't get me wrong, I love Silva, and if he signs with Barcelona, I won't be mad. But it's still €42 million on a player near his 30s. Plus, it will depend if PSG can acquire another Brazilian defender Barca may look to bring in themselves.
David Luiz is arguably the defender that makes most sense to bring to the Camp Nou. He's young, fast, and has a natural tendency to move up and move the ball on offense when needed.
But it's that tendency to take risks is why some Barca fans don't want to see Luiz play for Barcelona. Overall, this team needs a CB who is more "safe", if you will, and stays back.
But after his excellent performance in the FIFA Confederations Cup, including a wonderful, game-changing save on Pedro Rodriguez's shot in the final game, Luiz's stock has risen.
Reports out of England state that Chelsea would be interested in selling Luiz for around €27 million. But PSG may be interested in the Brazilian as well, especially if Thiago Silva comes knocking on PSG sporting director Leonardo's door, asking for an exit to Catalunya.
All of this depends on how serious Barcelona is in Thiago Silva. If Rosell and negotiator Sanllehí can convince Silva to take the pay cut and move to Barca, then PSG would take the €42 million and use that money to get David Luiz.
But Barcelona can always go directly to Chelsea, and offer the €27 million the Blues would ask at minimum for Luiz, and the saga would be over.
David Luiz would cost less than Thiago Silva, but Luiz's style of play may be a risky choice for some critics.
Finally, we come to the CB perhaps most Culés want to see signed is AS Roma's Marcos Aoás Corrêa, better known as Marquinhos. The 19-year-old wonder kid has caught the eye of many teams, but FC Barcelona has been the team that has been linked most with the centre back.
According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport (Italy), Barcelona is planning to offer between €25 and 28 million for Marquinhos. The same report also said that Roma will be looking to ask for €35 to 40 million.
The kid is a solid CB, who has shown signs of greatness in game. But at 19 years of age, he lacks much experience, is younger than Marc Bartra, and has not played in a Champions League game or a game with the Brazilian national team's first squad.
Nevertheless, many pundits see Marquinhos as Barcelona's potential own version of Raphael Varane of Real Madrid.
The case can be made that Marquinhos would be the smartest option for FC Barcelona, because it's an investment for the long term. Barca could secure their back line for many years with Marquinhos and Marc Bartra at CBs, with Jordi Alba and Martin Montoya at left and right back respectively.
Conclusion: Who to sign?
So, who is the best centre back for FC Barcelona to sign this summer? There truly is no right answer.
Thiago Silva is the most expensive, but you still get the best CB in the world.
David Luiz is not as expensive as Silva, and is arguably the CB that fits well with the style of play Barca plays. But is that the kind of CB the team needs?
Marquinhos is the youngest CB and the least experienced, but at 19, he has many years to grow as a defender, and may become a future superstar.
Who would I sign?
Personally, I'd sign David Luiz. He has experience, he's a proven winner both in club and country, and he shows a bit of Carles Puyol heart and intensity on the pitch. But that's just my opinion.
Bottom line: I'd be happy with any of these three defenders.
All I and all Culés want to see is this FC Barcelona defense to improve, and to improve significantly.
After watching Brazil demolish Spain 3-0 in the Confederations Cup final, I couldn't help but think how that game was very similar to Bayern Munich's demolishing of Barcelona in the Champions League semifinals.
I never want to see a terrible display of defending by FC Barcelona again. For too many years, the defense has been ignored when it comes to signings. Now, it's time to spend, invest, and bring a top centre back to the Camp Nou.
Who will it be? Only time will tell.
But one thing I do know is that that CB may be Brazilian. And that's not a bad thing at all.
Xoel, The Voice of FC Barcelona
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