With the presentations of Sergio Agüero and Eric García, FC Barcelona continues adding players on free transfers. In addition, Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay are strongly rumored - both on frees.
And we can also add Emerson Royal, a player whom the Catalans have had a co-ownership agreement with Real Betis over. He isn’t free, but for 9 million euros, he is considered a relative bargain.
Barcelona now have to sell players who have overstayed their welcome or are earning too much relative to their value to the team.
Philippe Coutinho, Miralem Pjanić, and Samuel Umtiti are probably top of this list. Other players, such as Sergi Roberto, must lower their wage demands or will be told to seek a new club. And there are others, such as Ousmane Dembélé, who could leave or stay depending on the offers that come in.
If Barcelona manage to sell some of these players - some even for a relative pittance so long as their wages are off the books - the club could have enough money to make a signing.
Who would that be? It’s hard to tell.
The Catalans have been linked with Erling Haaland and Neymar but those options seem pretty remote right now. Neymar extended his contract with Paris Saint-Germain so it’s pretty much assured he is not leaving. Haaland could still leave Borussia Dortmund this summer, but he might not, or in any case, it doesn’t seem that likely he’d leave for the Camp Nou.
With the signings of Depay and Agüero, there doesn’t seem a strong need to sign a striker right away, either. Though that is not to say it’s impossible, but it would probably necessitate Antoine Griezmann leaving.
Barcelona could focus on signing a defender or midfielder, instead, although it’s hard to imagine who is a realistic target. Matthijs de Ligt is one tantalizing option, as he was linked heavily with Barcelona before choosing to go to Juventus. But at the moment it doesn’t seem like he’d be allowed to leave.
Perhaps due to the club’s economic situation, there won’t be a star signing but a couple more good options to reshape the squad. There are rumors that Barcelona are looking for one more player in every line - defensive, midfield, and forward.
José Luis Gayà from Valencia could be a signing of that type (not cheap but not expensive) to compete with Jordi Alba, but it would depend on Barcelona finding a buyer for Junior Firpo first.
In midfield and in attack, it’s hard to think of precise names to target. One reason is the question mark over the coach. With Ronald Koeman still not assured of being on the bench, it’s hard to find players to fit a system when we aren’t sure even of the manager.
Joan Laporta, in his first transfer window back in charge, would want to have a star signing to bolster his project. Haaland is probably whom he really wants. But we will see if he - or any star in that galaxy such as Harry Kane - will be realistic. If not, Laporta could do simply with a glut of smart signings. That might be more valuable than one star striker.