At this point, it is well-established that Barcelona want to dip their toes into the market again despite splurging in the summer. With the La Liga title firmly in their sights, the Catalans wish to strengthen the squad further to ensure that they beat Real Madrid in the championship race.
To that end, Mundo Deportivo is now reporting that the Barcelona sporting department has identified two positions that need to be strengthened in the winter.
As is well-known by this time, a right-back is a top priority for Xavi Hernandez and Barça. Along with that, the Blaugrana also wish to bring in an interior midfielder.
The need for a new right-back stems from the subpar displays of summer signing Hector Bellerin, who was never the priority for the club. They were forced to sign the Spaniard as a late alternative to primary targets like Cesar Azpilicueta and Juan Foyth.
But things have not worked out as Bellerin has failed to deliver, forcing Xavi to use the likes of Jules Kounde and Alejandro Balde as makeshift right-backs.
While it was believed that Barcelona would try to bring in a pivot midfielder in January to cover for Sergio Busquets, the report states that Xavi & co. are looking for an interior midfielder instead, who can help the team control and dominate matches.
That was the main reason behind Bernardo Silva’s pursuit in the summer and while the Manchester City ace remains firmly on the agenda, his signing in January is seen as practically impossible. However, his teammate Ilkay Gundogan has emerged as a possible target for the club.
The German international is seen as a good fit because his style of play gels well with what Xavi is trying to incorporate at Barcelona while his experience would rub off on youngsters like Pedri and Gavi.
However, any signings will be dependent on the Catalans getting the green light from La Liga. As things stand, president Joan Laporta has confirmed that they cannot be able to sign players in January due to Fair Play regulations.
But the matter is being worked upon as the club seek to resolve the issue with La Liga in order to be able to make recruitments.
However, in case there is not enough room for Barcelona to strengthen both positions, club veteran Sergi Roberto is seen as a wildcard solution by manager Xavi.
As in, if the Catalans sign a new right-back but are unable to bring in a new midfielder, Roberto will be asked to fulfill duties in the centre of the park, which is his natural position to begin with.
But if it is the other way round and the club fail to bring in a new right-back, Roberto will be relied upon to do the job in the position where he looked good this season before getting injured.
A crucial few weeks await Barcelona as they look to find a solution for their FFP issues and enter the January market for reinforcements.