As we get closer and closer to the summer transfer window, Barcelona are sketching out their plans for the trading period, identifying key areas to reinforce and the targets for those positions.
One area that has generated much debate is the right-back slot. Barça have had to rely on Jules Kounde, Sergi Roberto and Ronald Araujo in the position this season as last summer’s arrival, Hector Bellerin, proved a dud and was shipped off in January.
While Kounde has performed admirably in the role, he is not a natural in the position. And there have been speculations that Xavi wants to sign a proper right-back in the summer.
However, at the same time, there have also been suggestions that the Blaugrana are not giving the position priority at this point and focusing on other areas due to the Financial Fair Play rules.
According to Gabriel Sans of Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona see the signing of a new right-back as a necessity but not as an urgent matter. A move could depend on the Fair Play situation and how their pursuit of targets for other positions pans out.
But, as many as six right-backs are being tracked by the La Liga leaders at this point. Indeed, Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), Joao Cancelo (Manchester City, on loan at Bayern Munich), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund), Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Malo Gusto (Chelsea, on loan at Lyon), and Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen).
The report suggests that Barcelona have had some form of contact with most, if not all, the aforementioned names about a possible transfer. And in some cases they have even received positive feedbacks about a potential move.
Indeed, the report states that the likes of Dalot, Meunier and Cancelo would all be open to joining the Blaugrana in the summer.
The Manchester United ace’s contract expires next year and he is understood to have delayed talks amid the interest from Barça. Meunier, meanwhile, has already admitted in the past that he would be open to moving to Camp Nou, after having held talks with Jordi Cruyff last year.
Meanwhile, Cancelo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has put forth his name at Barça, but the economics of the deal, even on loan, make his signing difficult.
As for Foyth, he remains Xavi’s preferred target to reinforce the right-back position, but again finances are an issue as Villarreal are unwilling to negotiate and want his €54 million release clause to be paid in full.
As for Gusto and Frimpong, they are on long-term contracts with their respective clubs and given their age and potential, will command a sizeable fee as well.
So, as things stand, even though there are several options on the table at Barcelona, each operation comes with its own set of difficulties. And it remains to be seen if the Catalans sign a new right-back or not.