5 players Barcelona should target in the January transfer window
Which players will strengthen Ernesto Valverde's squad?
FC Barcelona are already sitting at the top of La Liga after pouncing on the mistakes their arch-rivals Real Madrid have made at the start of this season. Ernesto Valverde is certainly doing better than what was expected of him.
The Catalans recently managed to extend Lionel Messi's contract to 2021 and the Argentine's decision to put pen to paper has warded off many heavyweights who were in line to sign him in 2018. However, is Messi's contract extension enough?
He has certainly kept his high levels but the quality of the squad around him is not as good as that of the Pep Guardiola era. Barca are doing fine, of course, but they will definitely need better talents if they plan to land silverware other than the league title this year.
Making high-profile signings in January is quite a challenge since players are reluctant to move mid-season. Nevertheless, the Catalan club might as well draw out a shortlist for the upcoming winter transfer window in 2018.
#5 Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)
Hector Bellerin shot to fame as one of the best right-backs in the Premier League in recent years. The Spaniard joined Arsenal in 2011 after learning his trade at the famous La Masia academy in Barcelona.
The 22-year-old was the subject of a bid from Barca this summer and, although the Gunners stated that he wasn't for sale, it won't hurt the Blaugrana to make one more attempt at bringing the Spaniard back to Catalonia.
Statistically, Bellerin has found it hard to overtake Nelson Semedo at the right-back position when their performances in the league are concerned. The Spaniard betters the Portuguese defender only in the air, winning 1.36 aerial duels per game compared to Semedo's 0.11.
So, why should Barcelona invest in Hector Bellerin? Signing the Arsenal right-back will give Valverde the freedom to use Sergi Roberto in midfield, who mostly competes against Semedo for the right-back position. Being one of the fastest players in the game at present, Bellerin's runs with Jordi Alba on the opposite flank will give Barcelona an added incentive during attacks.
But the road to signing their former man will not be easy with Arsene Wenger more than keen to hold on to his prized asset at the Emirates.