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2017 has been a year of underachievement for Barcelona, who were dominated by arch rivals Real Madrid both in La Liga and UEFA Champions League as the Madrid heavyweights successfully clinched both the major honours under Zinedine Zidane. The Catalans lost their superstar Neymar to French outfit Paris St-Germain in the summer transfer window and failed to bring in Liverpool sensation Philippe Coutinho as his replacement due to the Merseysiders’ determination to keep hold of their key resource despite him handing in a transfer request.
Barcelona have snapped up a deal for young French wingman Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund, and reports suggest that Barcelona will not make a move for Coutinho in January.
So, Ernesto Valverde should have lined up an alternative, who will help them maintain the impressive inception of this new campaign and guide them to restore their lost pride by winning major silverware.
Here, we have shortlisted three such names who will be a statement of intent if recruited.
Current Club: AS Monaco
Probably the most feasible one as the Monaco sensation was close to concluding a deadline day transfer amidst interests from Arsenal and Liverpool. Although the Gunners matched Monaco’s £92m asking fee, the player refused to join them in order to wait for a move to Liverpool who shelved their interest after failing to meet his price tag. Lemar, who is efficient enough to play on the wings as well as in a more central attacking role, will be a top-notch recruit for the Blaugrana. Also, snatching a Liverpool target from under their nose will be a massive rejoinder to their failed attempt at landing the Reds’ Samba sensation, Coutinho.
Current Club: Chelsea
The Belgian attacker has been one of Premier League’s brightest stars since joining the Blues back in 2012. The 26-year-old winger is considered as one of the greatest football stars of the current generation. Zinedine Zidane, the Real Madrid boss is known as a keen admirer of his mastery and expressed his desire to have him in his star-studded line-up.
Hazard has previously expressed his desire to play in La Liga, and Chelsea, under Antonio Conte, have done a commendable job during his injury-enforced absence. It won’t be an easy negotiation, however, as only a huge bid might test Chelsea’s resolve of letting their prized asset leave in winter.
Current Club: Juventus
Dybala, the young Argentine sensation, has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona this summer. But Juventus, his current employers, dismissed all speculations and retained him for this campaign. Dybala can play as a striker, as an attacking midfielder as well as in wide areas.
Barcelona are believed to re-enter into the transfer market 3 months later and could attempt to lure Juventus’ prized asset in order to slot him alongside fellow countryman and one of football’s greatest stars ever, Lionel Messi.