Barcelona transfer news: January transfer plan revealed, Eriksen & De Bruyne ideal signings and more - 26th December 2017
Possible arrivals and departures outlined
The Blaugrana have a comfortable nine-point lead at the top of the La Liga and topped their Champions League group as well. Nevertheless, Ernesto Valverde is determined to continue the rebuilding with the upcoming January transfer window offering a great chance. The Catalan club are targetting several players while a few in the current squad are set to be shown the exit door, as per Marca.
Philippe Coutinho remains at the top of the priority list for Barcelona but a mid-season signing of a player expected to cost over £100 million looks unlikely at the moment. Arsenal's Mesut Ozil is another top target and given his expiring contract, he could prove to be a cheap yet quality addition to the squad.
Barring these two, Nabil Fekir, Max Meyer, Leon Goretzka and Aleksandr Golovin are reported as the likely alternatives and each of them could be easier to sign than Coutinho, especially in January. The Spanish giants are looking to bolster their ranks with one of them before returning for Coutinho in the summer, as per the report.
On the other hand, several outgoings are expected with Marca reporting that the likes of Arda Turan, Aleix Vidal, Gerard Deulofeu and Javier Mascherano are set to leave in the upcoming transfer window. Each of those players has very likely come to the end of their time at Camp Nou and their sales could boost new signings as well.
Barcelona's ideal January signings identified
As per a statistical research conducted by the online betting site, BetStars, Kevin De Bruyne and Christian Eriksen are the perfect January signings for Barcelona. The site conducted research on the biggest weaknesses in every top European side and have identified the duo to resolve the Blaugrana's problems. The Catalan side is reportedly in need of a creator to break defences with about a quarter of the created chances that have been struck with a minimum of four opposing players blocking the path to goal.
Thus, a transfer matching system has determined which attackers Barcelona can recruit in January and the Manchester City playmaker tops the list as an 84.9 percent match. The algorithm takes into account several factors such as the average number of defenders between ball and goal for created chances, player's age relative to the peak playing age for that position, the relative status of their club and so on.
Apart from Eriksen, Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne, Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic and Juventus' Miralem Pjanic are the remaining suggested players to sign in January. However, it looks unlikely that Barcelona will be able to pull off any of these signings, especially in January.
Barcelona in for Virgil van Dijk
The Southampton centre-half wanted to leave in the summer and even submitted a transfer request to force a move, reportedly to Liverpool. However, the English side celebrated the signing before agreeing on a fee with the Saints, causing the latter to lodge a complaint, which was followed by an apology from the Reds.
Now, Van Dijk is set to depart in January with the Dutchman getting left out of the squad frequently by Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino. While Liverpool remain the favourites to land the 26-year old, Manchester City and now Barcelona are reportedly interested in the player, as per several reports.
The Blaugrana are in the market for a centre-half in January with Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano and Thomas Vermaelen all on the wrong side of 30. Van Dijk could prove to be a shrewd addition with his skill and leadership set to become valuable assets to Valverde's defence.
On the other hand, this move could hurt Liverpool and possibly impact any future negotiations for Coutinho. Nevertheless, the player is set to depart in January and there are barely any other quality defenders available in the winter market, implying the Blaugrana should go ahead and try to sign Van Dijk.