The Barcelona – centre-back saga is continuing as the Catalans are hoping to revitalise their backline this season after an especially terrible defensive performance last season. While the names of Aymeric Laporte and Matthijs de Ligt were thrown around previously, more cost efficient rumours are surfacing, most recently 3: Alessio Romagnoli, Lisandro Martínez, and Marcos Senesi, as per Mundo Deportivo.
Romagnoli’s is a curious case: despite being the club captain, after a string of injuries and subpar performances for AC Milan (who otherwise had a stellar season), the Italian was dropped from the starting 11 for the red and black. Allegedly, he has been transfer listed, and his contract runs out in June 2022. His acquisition may therefore be feasible: the club themselves are likely willing to sell him so as to not let him not leave on a free in a year.
Technically, the 26-year-old does offer what the Catalans look for in a centre-back: ball playing and comfortable in possession. His age allows him to be used as a long-term, starting option for Barcelona next season. He is capable of advancing into highly attacking positions and has therefore often been deployed as a more defensive left-back at times. This does make him well suited for the club as well as their situation, and he would even come at a decent price.
The only qualm would be the especially poor season he has just had under AC Milan and the lack of match fitness as a result of hardly being picked. Nonetheless, Barcelona are in no position to be picky, and Romagnoli does fit into Koeman’s squad fairly well to offer defensive backing.
Lisandro Martínez’s name has been thrown around a number of times before as a less costly alternative to Aymeric Laporte and Matthijs de Ligt, should the operations be unfeasible. As a player, the Argentinian offers long term stability at just 23 years old, and functions as a highly versatile and quick ball playing centre-back, often even used as an auxiliary midfielder under Erik ten Hag.
He would, however, be more expensive than Romagnoli (although not significantly) owing to his age and the years left on his contract. This is countered by the fact that he appears to fit into the squad a little better than the Italian and would suit a more fluid system better owing to his versatility.
The defender has played a crucial role in Ajax’s brilliant defensive season this year, and is certainly not an easy acquisition, seeing the importance he has within the squad.
Feyenoord’s Marcos Senesi from Argentina is another prospect for the club. Like the other two, he has a fitting profile as a ball-playing centre-back who would complement a more defensive minded and physically imposing partner in the backline well (think Araújo or Piqué).
That said, the 23-year-old lacks the defensive stability of the other two. He has been caught defensively a number of times this season and Feyenoord have suffered a subpar defensive season, sustaining the worst defensive record in the top 9. Still, this would probably reduce his price, something that has to be viewed favourably in the status quo.