FC Barcelona has opened the wallet and spent almost €150 million in transfers thus far. Rumors come and go and it seems like Barça is pretty content with how the market went on, signing everybody they wanted to, and spending what they've expected to.
Now, there's still almost 40 days available for player transfers, and Barça's sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta indicated that a few more signings could happen during that span. Which leaves the question, what could be some of the options for the Catalans now?
The team has assessed most of their damage and signed world-class players for the most important positions and necessities they had. Any new signing from now on would be just to strenghten the squad, giving Luis Enrique reliable options for either injury replacements or scheme changes, according to his wishes and plans.
Let's look at some options Barça could be looking in to make the squad better. These are realistic options. Of course it would be nice to sign the World Cup's Best XI, but, you know, that's quite difficult..
Defense (and Midfield (and Attack))
The signing of Jeremy Mathieu doesn't completely rule out the club thinking about some new center-back additions. Which is a good thing, since Barça only has three pure center-backs on the squad (Mathieu, Piqué, Bartra) and the defense is always a problem. Scoring goals is very rarely an issue. Allowing them is.
AS Roma's Mehdi Benatia is a dream signing. He's everything Barça needs: tall, quick, fast, strong, smart, still young and still in development. Incorporating Benatia to the squad would make Barcelona's defense incredibly difficult to get through. The problem is: Barça doesn't care about Benatia. Although he is a fan target, he was never even close to a club target. He is most likely staying at Roma, and his €40 million price tag is a little too big. Anyway, he would be a fantastic addition to the Blaugrana's weakest sector.
Paris Saint-Germain's Marquinhos is a Barcelona target. The board loves his young age (only 20 years old), his versatility -- he can play as a right-back or a center-back without blinking an eye -- and his desire to join the Blaugrana. There are rumours about a €40 million offer made by Barça. If that's true, and the deal happens, that's a very good thing. Not as ideal as the Benatia signing, but still really good, especially thinking long-term.
Fiorentina's Juan Cuadrado is a special case. He's not a defender, as his performance for Colombia at the World Cup showed. Still, Luis Enrique is obsessed with the posibility of using Cuadrado as a right-back to replace Dani Alves, who still doesn't know if he'll stay or not. Signing Cuadrado would be interesting, because it would give Lucho the chance of using him as a winger -- his original position, anyway -- until Luis Suárez and Neymar join Messi to form the Holy Trinity starting in late-October. Cuadrado has been linked with a move to Barça for a while now, and there are rumours going on about the Blaugrana making a €38 million offer earlier this week.
Ajax and Netherlands' Daley Blind also fits the Cuadrado idea. He is a talented, young player with incredible versatility. That ability of playing different positions allowed Louis Van Gaal to switch the Dutch system inumerous times just by using Blind as a center-back, a left-back or even as a advanced left mid. He played well in all of those spots, and his visit to Barcelona to spend some vacation time indicated that a deal could happen soon. Along with Cuadrado, he's the most likely transfer to happen in August. He also has offers from Machester United and Arsenal on the table.
Luis Enrique really seems to enjoy having players like Marquinhos, Blind and Cuadrado on the squad, that give him options to alter the team's tactical approach against different opponents. He said he's a fan of Mascherano and Mathieu, because of their versatility. These last two are already on the squad. It appears that one, maybe two of the first three will be, also.
Even though Barça has spent a lot already, it shouldn't be set in stone that the team has already finished their transfer efforts. It remains to be seen if they'll make any new moves, but they could happen.
- FC Barcelona News: 24 July 2014; Eight Internationals Return to Barcelona, 2014-15 La Liga Fixture List Announced
- FC Barcelona: 2014-2015 Full Fixture List
- Report: FC Barcelona Makes Offer to Paris Saint-Germain for Marquinhos
- FC Barcelona 2014/15 Depth Chart
- Official: FC Barcelona and Valencia CF Agree to Deal for Jeremy Mathieu