FC Barcelona assessing left back options


La Liga champions FC Barcelona are set to be busy in this summer’s transfer market with potentially over €20m being spent by the Catalan side to strengthen their options ahead of 2019-20.

La Blaugrana have already secured the signing of Ajax midfielder Frenkie De Jong,  and they have been heavily linked with a move for his team mate Matthijs De Ligt, as well as a second bid for Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann.

However, manager Ernesto Valverde is also set to look at other areas of his squad that need attention in the coming weeks and months.

Cover at left back has been a concern for the former Athletic Bilbao boss for the last 18 months, with Jordi Alba the only specialist left back in his first team squad, and the Spanish international turned 30 earlier this year.

Valverde has pressed Thomas Vermaelen, Sergi Roberto and Nelson Semedo into emergency cover, when Alba has been unavailable, however none has assured Valverde that he does not need to add to his defensive options.

Atletico Madrid defender Filipe Luis is name consistently linked with the Camp Nou, with his contract with Diego Simeone’s side expiring in the summer.

The Brazilian would be available on a free transfer and would provide additional experience to the side, however he is unlikely to be anything other than as steady stand in for Alba.

The other reported targets are Alex Moreno, from relegated Rayo Vallecano and Real Betis’ Junior Firpo, who have both impressed this season, despite low key performances from their respective clubs.

Catalan native Moreno was a bright spark for Rayo this season, providing attacking intent from full back and receiving comparisons with Alba, for his lung busting runs forward.

Firpo is similarly attack minded, with the strongest part of his game being his work in the oppositions half of the pitch, but at 22, he is still open to development.

Moreno represents a more experienced option, having played over 100 games for Rayo and at 25, he is entering a crucial stage of his career where a big move is necessary if he wants to progress.

Valverde will be looking for value in the market, with Firpo likely to be the most expensive of the three, and however signs will have to comfortable with initially playing second fiddle to Alba.

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