Barcelona transfer rumours

As Real Madrid are seemingly attempting to repeat their Galactio era with record breaking money signings, close rivals Barcelona have been somewhat overshadowed when it comes to talking about potential transfers. Nevertheless, that’s hardly surprising as why would you want to make mass changes to a team that has just won La Liga, the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League in Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge.

However, as one of the most attractive footballing sides in the world, Barcelona are sure to have players linked to the club no matter how absurd some may be. Here, I will try to distinguish between the facts and the fiction.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Inter hitman Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been heavily linked with a swap deal to Barcelona with Samuel Eto’o going in the other direction. Ibrahimovic has a prolific scoring record in Italy with 57 goals in 88 games yet has failed to convince a vast proportion of the media around Europe that he can perform on the biggest stage. However, the Swede has already spoken publicly at his interest in a move to the Nou Camp despite Inter president Massimo Moratti slapping a 76 million euro price tag on him. The Lure of Eto’o to the San Siro may persuade Inter to sell so don’t be surprised if both of the strikers are wearing opposite shirts come September. HOW LIKELY – 6/10

Franck Ribery

Bayern Munich creative midfielder Franck Ribery is looking more and more likely that he won’t be playing in the Bundesliga next season. However, what country the French star will be in next season is much harder to predict after Manchester United are aiming to make him Cristiano Ronaldo’s replacement, Inter and AC Milan wish to welcome him to the San Siro whilst Real Madrid and Barcelona are aiming to break the bank to place him in their respective kits. However, the two Italian options seem least likely whilst Ribery has publicly stated that he isn’t fond of the English continent. This leaves a battle between Madrid and Barcelona for the widely acclaimed player. You would think that Barcelona would be the more attractive proposal considering they currently have a treble winning squad. However, money talks very loudly in football today so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ribery playing at the Bernabeu next season. HOW LIKELY – 7/10

Karim Benzema

Lyon striker Karim Benzema has been linked with pretty much every top club in Europe since he burst on the scene for club and country several years ago. With all the money flying about at the moment, it’s hardly a surprise that his name is once again being linked with Barcelona. Considering Samuel Eto’o may depart this summer, Benzema may very well be a possibility to lead the line at the Nou Camp. However, realistically Benzema is likely to depart Lyon next summer after the 2010 World Cup so perhaps other striking options will be pursued this summer? HOW LIKELY – 4/10

Yuri Zhirkov

CSKA Moscow rampaging full back Yuri Zhirkov has publicly stated his desire to move to Barcelona. However, the major stumbling block is that the Spaniards haven’t yet shown any real public interest in signing him. It’s no secret that Barcelona need a new full back after releasing the aging Sylvinho. Whether or not, Zhirkov is the man the choose to fill that position is a different matter. HOW LIKELY – 5/10

David Villa

After weeks of looking like he was destined for Real Madrid, it seems as if David Villa will not be moving to the Bernabeu after all as Valencia have rejected a flurry of Madrid offers. This leaves what seems to be a straight fight between Barcelona and Manchester United. Although reports have claimed that United would be willing to break the british transfer fee to sign Villa, it’s questionable whether or not the striker would be willing to move to England. With Samuel Eto’o seemingly on his way out of the Nou Camp, Villa would give the champions a different dimension in attack and would surely only become more prolific than he already is alongside the likes of Messi and Henry. HOW LIKELY – 8/10

Sebastien Frey

With contract talks with Victor Valdes rapidly breaking down, reports have suggested that Barcelona have turned to experienced Florentina goalkeeper Sebastien Frey. The Catalans are reportedly ready to offer big money for Frey and may use centre back Rafael Marquez as bait for the deal. However, Frey’s contract with Florentina runs until 2013 although the lure of guaranteed Champions League football may be a significant factor in persuading Frey to the Nou Camp. HOW LIKELY – 7/10

 

The less likely?

Javier Mascherano – Liverpool anchorman Javier Mascherano has been linked with a move to the spanish giants after news of the merseyside club’s debts became public knowledge. However, manager Rafa Benetiz has stated on more than one occasion that Mascherano will not be sold.

Cesc Fabregas – The Arsenal playmaker and club captain has firmly committed himself to the club but once again has told of his desire to play under his idol Pep Guardiola at some stage of his career. Although it’s unlikely Fabregas would leave at the moment, if an offer came in from Barcelona, who’s to predict where Fabregas will be playing in September.

David Trezeguet – After nearly ten years at Juventus, it looks as if Trezuguet will be off in the summer after relationships have broken down between him and the club. A whole host of clubs have been reported to have shown an interest but perhaps the Nou Camp would be an ideal destination if Samuel Eto’o was to depart.

Yossi Benayoun – Liverpool’s Yossi Benayoun is possibly the most surprising player to be linked with Barcelona this summer. Not even guaranteed a starting place at Liverpool, it comes as some surprise that the Champions League winners would see Benayoun as an option to replace an already near perfect midfield trio. Nevertheless, stranger things have happened and maybe Benayoun’s quick playmaker style would suit La Liga?

Robinho – Although the Brazilian has stated his desire to stay at Manchester City for the forthcoming future, this could very well be just to keep the press off of his back. Robinho has made no secret of the fact he would be interested if Pep Guardiola requested his services. Whether or not Guardiola would want to take a risk on a potentially bad influence remains to be seen though.

On their way out?

Samuel Eto’o – The Barca hitman looks to be on his way to either Italy or England with Inter Milan his most likely destination.

Bojan Krakic – The young sensation has been linked with various clubs on loan for next season. Many rumours have gone about suggesting he may be involved in a swap deal with David Villa which would allow Valencia another season with a top class striker.

Victor Valdes - Recent reports have suggested that the Barca keeper rejected the club’s latest contract offer after demanding to be paid on equal terms with their highest earners. Manchester United have registered possible interest as a long term replacement for Edwin Van der Sar.

Alexander Hleb – The former Arsenal midfielder has struggled with injuries since he arrived at Barcelona and has seen the midfield dominated by Yaya Toure, Andreas Iniesta and Xavi. There are no immediate plans for him to leave but Hleb himself stated he may have to move to find first team football. If a decent offer is put forward, Barca may be tempted to sell.

Rafael Marquez - The Mexican centre back has long been on the radar of Florentina coach Cesare Prandelli and with Barcelona looking to bring new faces in, realistically they will need to offload some players to balance the books. Marquez’s salary may prove a stumbling block for Florentina but a longer contract may persuade him to move.

 

The line up next season?

With the rumour mill going into overdrive, it’s clear that not all of the above stated players will end up moving to the treble winners. It could even be that only one or two of the above eventually clinch a lucrative deal at Barcelona. When a squad like Barcelona has just achieved the maximum it can, there is no reason for the club to make wholesale changes just for the sake of competing on the “name” front with Real Madrid.

The most likely of the above to happen would be the transfer of David Villa from Valencia. Negoatiations seem to have broken down with Real Madrid and Villa is proven in La Liga where as other linked strikers such as Ibrahimovic and Trezuguet have not.

Nearly every team in Europe would love to have a midfield combination of Xavi and Andreas Iniesta with Yaya Toure as the rock to sit in behind them. Therefore, it seems fairly unlikely that Barcelona will need to bring in any more midfielders especially with young talent Sergio Busquets breaking through and Alexander Hleb waiting on the sidelines. However, if a transfer was to happen, then Franck Ribery would seemingly be the most likely. Ribery has stated a desire to test himself in the top league and after criticising England’s climate, it seems it will be a straight fight between Real Madrid and Barcelona for his services.

Spanish teams are renowned for their attacking football but are also known for being slightly fragile at the back. With Sylvinho having already departed and Rafael Marquez possibly on his way out, there is room for defensive cover. Barcelona have not yet been strongly linked with any defenders but Yuri Zhirkov is doing his best to get noticed by the club so perhaps a move for the full back could happen. With Sebastian Frey being linked to replace Victor Valdes, the Barcelona starting line up could potentially look like this next season.

                    FREY

ALVES–PUYOL–PIQUE–ZHIRKOV

                  TOURE

          XAVI—–INIESTA

MESSI——VILLA——RIBERY

5 Responses to “Barcelona transfer rumours”

  1. I*T*P*L Says:

    Another good article Lee, very informative. I doubt I’d have been able to produce such a thorough piece on a club that I don’t support.

  2. LeeWilson Says:

    Cheers ITPL!

    It took a fair bit of research but got there eventually:-)

  3. swji Says:

    I think Villa’s off to Real myself.

  4. Alhassan m.kamaldeen Says:

    I hope we will defend all the cups we took this season, because the kind of players pep Guardiola will be using is good. But i still support that samuel eto should be giving another chance.

  5. nwoko kingsley ifeanyi Says:

    I am a great fan of barca, and am a Nigerian. Devid Villa has agree even on a reduced price to come to barca, if barca should push a little forword more villa will be here in barcelona.Well,Diego Folan is good.

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