European giants Barcelona are having an off-season this year. The Catalan outfit have been one of the most successful in recent years, but they look to be heading towards a barren spell this season. Exit from the Champions League seems certain, after having been thrashed 4-0 by PSG in the first-leg of their Round-of-16 clash and are second favourites to win the La Liga title, despite being at the top of the table.
The struggles have taken a toll on the manager Luis Enrique, who announced that he will be quitting the job at the end of the season due to mental fatigue. It will be a summer of rebuilding for the Blaugrana, with a new manager coming in and players looking to be added.
The matter of concern, however, is that their star forward Lionel Messi is yet to sign a contract extension. It is possible that Leo Messi may need some fresh faces at the club to feel motivated and start over again, afterall, he has been at the club for so many years and a change is all what he might need within the club. Here are 5 players who Barcelona can sign to help Leo Messi.
The Celtic forward is one of the most sought after players in Europe, with almost every other big club linked with a move for Dembele. Just twenty years of age, Dembele has emerged as a world class talent and is tipped for great things in the future.
Summer addition Paco Alcacer has flattered to deceive at the Camp Nou and has struggled to find his goal-scoring touch. As a result, bringing in Dembele could prove to be a smart piece of business for Barcelona with star striker Luis Suarez and Messi himself turning 30 by the time next season arrives.
Dembele has scored an amazing 31 goals from 43 appearances this season and put on a great display against the Catalans when the Hoops went up against them in the Champions League. Quality and depth will be needed if Barcelona are to challenge for honours next season and Dembele will be a great addition to the ranks.
The versatile forward who plies his trade in the La Liga for seventh-placed Eibar, Enrich had been in the news for the wrong reasons in recent times but the 27-year old has managed to redeem himself with some impressive displays and has been a crucial player for Eibar.
Enrich has the ability to play anywhere across the front line and has notched up eleven strikes so far this season, for the Basque outfit. He will most likely be playing the role of a backup option if he does move to Barcelona and will be available for a relatively cheaper transfer fee. Enrich may not be the biggest of the names in the game, but he will sure be enriching the options for Barcelona and could contribute with goals coming on the bench.
The right-back issues at Barcelona are no secret to anyone. Having lost long-serving defender Dani Alves in the summer, manager Enrique failed to reinforce the right-back position.
Barca heavily relied on midfielder Sergi Roberto to fill in at the full-back position. And having started the season well, Roberto has now become more of a liability for the Blaugrana. The only regular right-back in the squad, Aleix Vidal struggled to break into the team in the early parts of the season. And when he came in, an injury saw him ruled out for the rest of the season.
Former academy product Hector Bellerin has been making a name for himself with some amazing displays for Arsenal. The defender has become known for his blistering pace and strong defensive nous and could solve Barcelona’s right-back woes completely for a long time if they manage to get him back to the Camp Nou.
The most improbable transfer target on the list, Isco has been tapped by many Barcelona players in the recent past to try and convince him to move from bitter rivals Real Madrid.
The Spaniard has found it extremely hard to find a regular spot in the playing line-up under manager Zinedine Zidane and it might be the right time to move away from Real madrid and set himself up as the rightful heir to take over as the creator-in-chief for Barcelona from the ageing Andres Iniesta.
There have been no transfers between the two clubs since the controversial deal involving Luis Figo and Barcelona might be hoping to seek revenge for that transfer. However, this move seems highly unlikely.
The Italian has emerged as one of the finest midfielders in the game and is another player who has been widely chased by clubs across Europe.
The PSG star has enhanced his reputation with magnificent displays one after the other in the French capital and has emerged as the primary transfer target for Barcelona. With summer signing Andre Gomes struggling to find his feet and Sergio Busquets not enjoying the best of the seasons, it makes total sense for the Catalans to target a move for Verratti.
But he will not come cheap. PSG are under no pressure to sell him nor do they want to lose him, and hence the for value Verratti would be very high, which could prove to be a huge stumbling block for Barcelona.