Last summer, FC Barcelona took some huge risks in the attempt to return to the summit of Spanish and European football. The club sold several assets in order to raise funds for new additions to the playing staff at Camp Nou, as well as in order to renew a few contracts for key players. And it seems that those risks have paid off, domestically at least.
The club forked out €100m on transfer fees in order to secure the signings of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, and Jules Koundé. The Blaugrana also added Franck Kessié, Andreas Christensen, Héctor Bellerín, and Marcos Alonso on free transfers, with the majority of the signings thought to be on mega money wage deals. But as mentioned, the signings have translated into La Liga success.
The Catalonians look set to be romping to a first Spanish championship in four years and are 11 points clear of reigning champions and archrivals Real Madrid with just a handful of games remaining. Perhaps even more impressively, they have conceded just nine goals all season. They are so far clear of their rivals that if you check out latest Bovada sports odds, you will notice that the highly regarded online bookmaker isn’t even offering a price on Xavi’s side securing the title.
Unfortunately, however, that domestic dominance didn’t translate into continental success, and for the second consecutive campaign, Barcelona crashed out of the UEFA Champions League at the group stage. They were also eliminated in the first knockout round of the Europa League by Manchester United. As such, further investment is expected this summer, and here are three men that could be brought to the Camp Nou in the coming months.
The signing that every Cule wants their club to make this summer is securing Lionel Messi’s return to Camp Nou. The little Argentinian genius left the club two years ago, with the club’s disastrous financial situation prohibiting them from renewing the contract of their greatest-ever player. He has spent the last 24 months in the French capital with Paris Saint-Germain, and he has added two Ligue 1 winners’ medals to his already overflowing trophy cabinet.
Messi’s greatest achievement since he has been away from his adopted home was leading his beloved Argentina to a first FIFA World Cup triumph in 36 years. The Roasrio-born attacker was the star of the show in Qatar last November and December, winning the Golden Ball award following seven goals and three assists in eight games. Despite him turning 36 years of age in June, there can be no denying that La Pulga would still have plenty to offer his beloved Barcelona.
Throughout his 16 years in Catalonia, Messi netted a whopping 672 goals in 778 games, becoming the club’s all-time record goal scorer in the process. In addition to that, he also provided a mighty 303 assists. When it comes to trophies, he won La Liga ten times, the Champions League four times and the Copa Del Rey seven times, and should he decide to come home, he will be hoping to add to his collection before his career winds down.
Last year, Barcelona were hellbent on securing the signature of Manchester City star Bernardo Silva. This summer, it seems they have turned their attention to the Etihad Stadium once again, however, this time, it is German midfielder Ilkay Gündogan that Xavi has his eyes on. And with the talented former Borussia Dortmund man out of contract at the end of the current campaign, his arrival at Camp Nou is a very real possibility.
Gündogan was a sensational signing by Pep Guardiola. He was the first signing made by the former Barcelona manager, arriving at the club in the summer of 2016 for just £20m. In the seven years since, he has made over 290 appearances for the Citizens, winning four Premier League titles during that period.
The German won the World Cup with his country in 2014 and even though he will turn 33 in October, he should still have plenty to offer in Catalonia.
The third and final man that could join Barcelona this summer is La Liga stalwart Iñigo Martínez. The current Athletic Bilbao man has made over 400 professional appearances for top clubs including the aforementioned Bilbao and rivals Real Sociedad. He also has 20 international appearances to his name, and he would surely up an already staunch Blaugrana defense.
Martínez is another man that is out of contract in the summer, and should Xavi manage to get the deal over the line, it would be more brilliant work in the transfer window. His addition would add to the four free transfers that the club managed to seal last summer, however, how close he would get to the starting eleven remains to be seen. The retirement of Gerard Pique earlier this season saw a spot for a new central defender open, and Martínez may very well fill that gap.
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