What’s the story?
Barcelona are reeling from their rather dismal 2016/17 campaign and are prepared for a fresh start under new manager Ernesto Valverde. According to Spanish daily AS, the Catalan giants have chalked up an 8-man summer transfer wishlist of wide players which will help improve the club’s attack and in turn help them challenge for top honours once again.
The wishlist includes some of the biggest names in football namely, Ousmane Dembele of Borussia Dortmund, Douglas Costa of Bayern Munich, Gelson Martins of Sporting Lisbon, former PFA Player of the Year and wantaway Leicester City superstar Riyad Mahrez, Liverpool sensation Philippe Coutinho, Vitolo of Sevilla, Ismaila Sarr of Metz and former academy product Gerard Deulofeu, who is currently with Premier League outfit Everton.
In case you didn’t know…
FC Barcelona endured one of their worst seasons in recent years as they missed out on the La Liga title, having finished 2nd – 3 points behind eventual winners and arch-rivals Real Madrid. The Camp Nou outfit were also knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in the quarter-finals after a humiliating defeat against eventual finalist Juventus.
The only saving grace for Lionel Messi and company was in their Copa del Rey triumph over Deportivo Alaves. However, for a club of Barcelona’s stature, a domestic cup win is not enough to call it a successful season and hence they are aiming for a squad overhaul which will help them compete for the league title and the UEFA Champions League.
The heart of the matter
According to the report, Borussia Dortmund sensation Ousmane Dembele is at the top of their transfer shortlist, as the club looks to strengthen the right-wing, a position currently occupied by arguably the world’s best player – Lionel Messi.
However, should the club fail in their pursuit of the Frenchman, Barcelona’s sporting director Roberto Fernandez has other names from the list to pursue. Out of all the names, Deulofeu stands out, for he has plied his trade for the club previously but the Catalan giants need to hurry up as they have only until the end of this month to activate the €12m buyback present in the Spaniard’s contract.
It is interesting to note that Barcelona are pursuing a right-winger/attacking midfielder in addition to the central midfielders they have been linked with. This might suggest that a change in formation could be on the cards, or the Catalan club might be interested in instating Messi as a number 9 or as a number 10.
The lure of the Spanish giants is too much for any footballer to turn down and if Barcelona can agree a fee with Borussia Dortmund, it is highly likely that they will sign Ousmane Dembele. The Frenchman is one of Europe’s most coveted youngsters and will definitely help the club improve a notch or two.