Barcelona’s summer transfer window is expected to be filled with arrivals and departures, and that includes the defense. A back four of Dani Alves, Ronald Araujo, Gerard Piqué and Jordi Alba was Xavi Hernández’s favorite combination for big games, but it seems as though we won’t see those same four names starting in important matches next season.
Araujo and Alba will remain absolute locks in their positions even if new players arrive, but things are different for the other two: Alves is yet to sign a new contract and could depart this summer, and reports this week claim that Xavi has already told Gerard Piqué he won’t be a starter next season.
Andreas Christensen will arrive on a free transfer for Chelsea in July and comes with good reputation as one of the most talented defenders in Europe, even if the end of this season wasn’t exactly filled with great performances for the Denmark international; Eric García will enter his second season and will have a full preseason under Xavi to prove his worth, and after a debut campaign filled with ups and downs he will hope to play more consistent football.
Clément Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti are on the list of departures, and the club will hope to get them off the books as soon as possible to perhaps bring in a high-profile new signing for the backline. The latest rumors suggest Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Sevilla’s Jules Koundé are at the very top of Barça’s list of center-back targets, and there is zero doubt both players would be a huge upgrade to a defense that struggled for most of the season.
Considering Barça’s current financial situation it is unclear how realistic it is to sign either of the two names above, who are also wanted by many of the top clubs in Europe. But if Barça can pull off a small miracle with Koulibaly or Koundé, things could improve drastically at the back. Ronald Araujo is already one of the world’s best defenders, and he needs a partner at the same level to make Barça more competitive.
So who should that partner be, Barça fans? Please pick your favorite in the poll below and feel free to suggest other names and share your thoughts in the comments!
Who should be Araujo’s center-back partner next season?