After the 3-1 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid in the first leg of the Super Cup, one thing was painfully evident, so evident that even Sergio Busquets brought it up after the game: “The team doesn’t need signings because of this result, we need them because you have to renew things.” And he’s right, in order to successfully compete for trophies this year, Barcelona need quality signings, immediately.
This week, Barcelona confirmed the capture of Brazilian midfielder Paulinho for a fee of 40 million euros, making him the fourth most expensive signing in club history. While the midfield is in need of revamp and Paulinho should be given the proper game time before he is judged, his quality of play shown in the Premier League especially, is not at the level of a Barcelona player.
In order to continue the successes of previous years, especially in terms of trophies, stars must be signed to provide competition throughout the squad and ensure that the team is prepared physically and mentally for all competitions.
One player that comes to mind who has the necessary quality and proven history is a different Brazilian midfielder, one that the club has been linked with for several years, Philippe Coutinho.
Coutinho has demonstrated his skill over the last several years playing for Liverpool. With reports saying that the player has handed in a transfer request and Barcelona ready to pay around 100 million euros, Coutinho would be the perfect statement signing.
Fitting Coutinho into the line-up would take some time, whether in the midfield or occupying Neymar’s previous position on the wing, but this is a problem Ernesto Valverde would love to have. The Brazilian has demonstrated that his dribbling and passing are of the necessary quality, and would be an amazing addition into the line-up.
While impressing in his debut against Chapecoense, Gerard Deulofeu looked like a player lost on the pitch against Real Madrid. With no invention, it seemed as though every time he touched the ball he was immediately looking to pass to Messi or Suarez, and never to create for himself.
A possible replacement can be found in the form of Ousmane Dembélé, the 20-year-old Dortmund forward. With transfer rumors swirling and Dembele now suspended after skipping training, Barcelona have been in contact with Dortmund regarding his transfer. Dembele, while still young, would provide greater invention and class on the wing.
In addition, Aleix Vidal turned the ball over multiple times in dangerous areas and never produced anything dangerous from the right back position. It might be time for Valverde to place more trust into the other summer signing, Nélson Semedo.
Semedo showed glimpses of his potential during the International Champions Cup and is deserving of more game time and trust from his manager.
Ultimately, if Busquets is admitting to interviewers after the game that reinforcements are needed, the board must act now.
With no significant recent signings (except Umtiti) making an impact on the squad, players with true class must be acquired to ensure that the next generation for Barcelona can deliver trophies being guided by the greatest of all time, Lionel Messi.
The call to action has been heard by the Barcelona board, now is the time for action.