Preparing for the worst: 3 players who could replace Marc-Andre ter Stegen at Barcelona
- Marc-Andre ter Stegen has joined Lionel Messi in being Barcelona's saving grace this season.
- With doubts starting to circulate about his future, the Blaugrana should be looking into potential replacements.
Barcelona have gone through a rollercoaster of emotions this season, but heading into the Coronavirus suspension, the Catalans sit on top of La Liga. What will happen to the remainder of the season remains to be seen but Barcelona fans should be relatively impressed with their team's performances up until this point.
One thing has remained a constant, however. And that is Marc-Andre ter Stegen bailing out the Blaugrana in their own third, if not Lionel Messi in the opposition's third. The German shot-stopper has been essential and, after Messi, Barcelona's most important player.
However, the Catalan giants find themselves at risk of losing ter Stegen, so they will need to act fast. News from SPORT suggests that Bayern Munich may start to peak his interest, as contract talks between Barcelona and the player have "stalled".
The last thing Barcelona want is to lose their joint-most important player. However, they must also prepare for the worst. Consequently, below are three players that could be in line to replace Marc-Andre ter Stegen at Barcelona...
Kepa Arrizabalaga is a goalkeeper who divides opinion. While the Chelsea faithful seem to be a fan of his performances when he plays, just like in the recent match against Liverpool when he was the star, Frank Lampard doesn't favour him.
Kepa is known to be a mischievous character and his personality can be difficult to manage at times. Consequently, if Barcelona do opt for Kepa to replace ter Stegen, then Quique Setien will need to snap this attitude out of him.
There's no denying that beneath the fiery character, there is a real gem in Kepa. He could walk into most starting XIs in the world and improve the side. He has a big frame and he isn't afraid to make himself big in one-on-one situations to prevent any danger.
At 25 years old, the Spaniard is not yet at his peak so he has plenty of time to develop and really perfect his goalkeeping attributes.
Kepa seems to be the most realistic option in the market, since Lampard will likely be inclined to sell him in the summer. That said, there's no reason why Barcelona shouldn't go out there and pursue the Spanish shot-stopper.
#2 David de Gea (Manchester United)
David de Gea seems to be the first name which pops up whenever a big European club is on the hunt for a new goalkeeper. It's easy to see why as well, given the his immense shot-stopping abilities.
De Gea is Spanish and he knows La Liga well, having spent his youth career and first three professional years at Atletico Madrid. He now plays for Manchester United, where he is often referred to as their most important player.
Over the last nine years at Old Trafford, de Gea has really matured as a player. There was a good stint where he was even considered as the best goalkeeper in the world. While he is not quite at that level anymore, with a few glaring mistakes marring his recent seasons, a move to Barcelona could help him re-reach those heights.
De Gea is 29 so he is by no means old by goalkeeping standards. He likes to use his frame and he is known to save the ball with his feet at times. De Gea is a commanding goalkeeper too, which is exactly what Barcelona need should they lose ter Stegen.
#3 Bernd Leno (Arsenal)
Bernd Leno is a player who Barcelona have been linked with in the past; however, they were pipped to the post by Arsenal. The truth is, Leno is one of the few golden-generation goalkeepers who have kept on playing consistently at the top level and he is continuing to progress under Mikel Arteta.
Having watched Arsenal this season, Leno is by far and away their most important player. One would even say he's more important than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whom Barcelona are also known advocates of.
Leno is a commanding goalkeeper who is no stranger to putting his body on the line. He is also very good with the ball at his feet, which has been a feature of Barcelona goalkeepers since Pep Guardiola introduced the tiki-taka style of play. Arsenal is known to settle for less when it comes to transfer fees, so he could be the cheapest option of the bunch. And given how all three have been playing this season, Leno has been the best so far.Published 25 Mar 2020, 10:03 IST