After another heartbreaking loss in the CL semi-finals, it became clear that Barcelona needs refreshment in many areas in order to stay ahead of the competition. The team’s defensive gaps, no matter how tiny, were exposed in the humiliating 4-0 loss to Liverpool after literally having the tie in the bag. That painful match for Blaugrana fans confirmed what many have been saying for a while. It’s time for a deep cut in Barcelona’s aging team, not unlike what Guardiola did back in the summer of 2008.
After reportedly missing out on highly-sought Dutch defender Matthijs De Ligt, there’s been a lot of speculation about Barcelona’s plans for the back four. It’s obvious that Jordi Alba needs some cover due to fatigue and the right back spot is up for grabs right now. The main problem, however, is the centre-back area.
Resolving the CB problem should be Barcelona’s priority. If the team wants to finally solve the semi-final riddle, the defense needs to be reinforced. With a sturdy defender next to the aging Gerard Pique, Barcelona will most likely race ahead of the other Champions League outright favorites. Manchester City @ 4/1 may be the favorite now, but with a new centre-back, Barcelona can race ahead. Surprisingly, defending champion Liverpool is behind Barcelona on the list of CL betting favourites @ 7/1.
If you’d like to place a bet on the Spanish champion to win the CL, Freebets.com brings together all of the online finest betting sites. You can place a bet on Barcelona’s chances in the Champions League which are currently 13/2 or winning the Spanish Primera, where the Catalan team (4/6) is already in the lead even after Real Madrid (11/8) added significant firepower to the squad. Not surprising, Diego Simeone’s Atletico comes third @ 16/1, with the odds for the other teams taking a sharp drop below (Valencia @ 100/1, Sevilla @ 150/1).
Let’s take a look at the best options for Barcelona’s ailing defense.
With so much speculation about Neymar’s possible return and the reportedly imminent transfer of Antoine Griezmann, the search for a new Barca defender didn’t exactly make waves in the media. This is why a reported inquiry about Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof came as a shock. Lindelof didn’t really start his Man U career on the right foot but has played very well for long strides under Solskjaer last season.
Lindelof’s good games couldn’t really get noticed due to United’s more glaring problems, but it seems that Barca’s scouts have been paying attention. Aged only 24, Lindelof will rejuvenate Barca’s defense and could be signed on the cheap. Well, at least for what passes as cheap these days on the transfer market.
If Barcelona really wants to invest in the future and make a splash on the market, the team should go after Milan Skriniar. The Slovakian defender has been ever-present for FC Internazionale in his 2 years at the club, playing a vital part in their impending CL return. A defensive stalwart in Italy, Skriniar would cast Barcelona’s back in iron.
Of course, it won’t be easy. Apart from Inter not interested in selling one of their best players, Skriniar would also not come for cheap. Not that Barcelona doesn’t have the money – after all, it’s one of the wealthiest clubs in the world.
There’s been talk about Ricardo Rodriguez’s possible move to Barcelona recently, and we think he’s a great option. Jordi Alba is a dynamo on the left side and quite possibly the best left back Barcelona has ever had. However, he was clearly tired against Liverpool at Enfield and Barcelona has no cover for him.
Enter Ricardo Rodriguez. Currently at AC Milan, the Swiss international would be a great signing for the Catalans. He’ll cover Alba nicely with his pace and the ability to go further up the field. Of course, he won’t move Jordi Alba down the pecking order. But, if Barcelona wants a LB back-up, he’s among the best choices. Not to mention that he would add much-welcomed competition for the Spanish star which is always healthy.