For the first time in several years, Barcelona are struggling on both ends of the pitch. New signing Memphis Depay has not been able to penetrate defences alone, while the lack of reliable defenders has left the club more vulnerable than ever at the back.
As such, Barça are bound to be confused about their top priority heading into next summer. It seems Joan Laporta and co. are ready to cash in big for a forward, more specifically a striker, while hoping to make a budget centre-back signing. Fichajes has reported three defenders targetted by the club.
Top of the list is Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta. One of the fittest defenders in Europe, Azpilicueta is a reliable option in two positions and is barely on the end of a poor performance.
What makes him an attractive option for Barça is his contract, which is set to expire in the summer of 2022. Poaching him out of a renewal will be a challenging task, but a lucrative offer with the chance to play with several of his compatriots could change his mind.
Azpilicueta’s teammate at Chelsea, Andreas Christensen is the second name on the list. The Dane has been in and out of the Blues starting XI under Thomas Tuchel, which could be the catalyst of his departure.
As a quick, ball-playing defender, Christensen would not take time to fit in at Barcelona, offering a lot of quantity and quality to the defence. He, too, is set to be out of contract in 2022 if talks of a renewal with Chelsea go south.
Finally, a long-time target for Barcelona, Alessio Romagnoli is the third man on this list. As the captain of AC Milan, the Italian has a lot of experience and would add a much-needed profile as a reliable left-footed centre-back. Plus, his signing, like the previously mentioned two, would not involve any transfer fees.
Barcelona has been linked to several defenders in the past month, including Azpilicueta and Christensen’s Chelsea teammate Antonio Rudiger, Juventus’ Matthijs de Ligt, Bayern Munich’s Lucas Hernandez, among others. But that said, it is clear that Laporta will be looking at several free agents, like he did this summer, bringing in Memphis, Eric Garcia, and Sergio Aguero.