As we hurtle towards the end of another gruelling La Liga campaign, Barcelona will already be looking towards a successful 2019/20 season, and to that end Eric Abidal will need to do some wheeler-dealing in the transfer market.
With Matthijs De Ligt just one name being mentioned as a possible new signing, it’s clear that the Catalans will have plenty to do across the summer.
The futures of most of their players remain crystal clear, but there are question marks too.For example, where does De Ligt fit in given that only Thomas Vermaelen seems likely to be moved on?
Gerard Pique has enjoyed one of his best-ever and most consistent seasons for the Blaugrana so won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, ditto Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet.
Will the current Ajax captain be happy with a bit-part role?
And what about Jean-Clair Todibo? The 19-year-old is also seen as one of European football’s hottest properties, but has been nowhere close to the first team picture for the vast majority of the second half of the season.
It would be beneficial for both player and club if he were loaned out for the entirety of next season, but with a longer-term view of utilising his enviable skill set either as a centre-back or in a defensive midfield role.
Allowing him to leave with a purchase option would suggest that the club were far too hasty in acquiring his services, and after doing exactly that with Yerry Mina, it would raise concerns that the technical department aren’t up to the job in hand.
Jeison Murillo is unlikely to be retained despite professing a desire to stay at Barcelona. The Blaugrana sealed a loan deal with the player and Valencia, but the Colombian hasn’t impressed in the handful of games he’s been entrusted to carry out defensive duties.
A pre-requisite for any new signing would be to put pressure on those already in-situ and, frankly, Murillo has never done that.
As another body within the squad in the event of injuries, his was a loan deal worth doing, but he’s not really served a purpose other than that. Unable to get in the Valencia side either, a move back to south America isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.
At the other end of the pitch, Kevin-Prince Boateng has barely featured. That’s not unsurprising when you consider he has the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho ahead of him.
Paco Alcacer left for just that reason, and even he’s an upgrade on the German-Ghanaian.
When he has played, his touch and movement has been poor and certainly not in keeping with the style Barcelona prefer.
He’s available for €8m at the end of the season should the Catalans want to take up that option, but the likelihood is he’ll return to Sassuolo.
Which means there’ll be more squad places to fill in 2019/20…
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