For quite some time now, Barcelona’s backline has been by far their weakest link. Even though there certainly is quality there with the likes of Gerard Piqué and Clément Lenglet, the main worry has always been the depth of the bench.
With Samuel Umtiti mostly unreliable due to fitness issues and Jean-Clair Todibo promptly shipped off to loan after a loan spell, the Catalans had to rely solely on the youngsters and even Frenkie de Jong for cover.
However, with the transfer window nearly upon us, and the situation in the backline still on thin ice, it begs the question – should Barcelona sign a new centre-back in January and/or in the near future? And if so, who should they go after?
Of course, there are some prominent names out there who could potentially fit the bill and be relatively available for purchase.
So without further ado, let’s explore three such options for the Azulgrana further down the line.
We’ll get the most obvious solution out of the way first, shall we? Eric García to Barcelona is most likely happening, whether some may like it or not. The ex-La Masia prodigy has been on the Catalans’ radar for a long time now and his transfer feels like a matter of when and not if.
We know that Barcelona have two options ahead of them. Either sign the young centre-back in January for a small fee or wait for his contract to officially expire and get him for free in the summer. Needless to say, it’s a tricky situation for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, they are seriously lacking depth in the centre-back position and they need reinforcements as soon as possible. This would be the argument to get García immediately when the winter transfer window opens.
However, the other side of the coin is money. If they were to wait just a couple of months, they could get the player for free and avoid hassling with Manchester City over the fee. But can they really wait that long?
What we do know is that García should very much be worth the trouble. The youngster has shown his quality on numerous occasions already and even though he’s not on an elite level just yet, it does feel like he could get there in the near future.
After all, if Pep Guardiola likes him, there has to be something special about the kid.
Pau Torres is another name the Barcelona faithful are very familiar with. The 23-year-old centre-back is, after all, a player in true La Masia mould — confident on the ball, technical, skillful and also a good defender overall. It’s the perfect profile of a modern defender, just the way the Catalans like them.
Of course, there have been numerous earlier reports that suggest Torres is indeed on Barcelona’s radar but his availability might pose a certain problem here. Villarreal are naturally quite fond of him and wouldn’t be open to selling.
The only way the Catalans would potentially make a breakthrough is indeed via his release clause, which stands at €50M. Needless to say, in the current financial climate of the club, that sum is simply unreachable for Barcelona.
They were struggling with meeting the demands of Manchester City for García and he was much cheaper than that with his deal with the Citizens soon to be expired. But maybe Torres should not be an option for the present but rather someone Barcelona could chase further down the line.
As we know, centre-backs’ careers can be somewhat longer than that of attacking players and midfielders, and after all, he is only 23 years of age. There’s plenty of time to come back for him, should they choose to do so.
But first, they have to convince him with a good sporting project, which is the ingredient that’s been missing at the Camp Nou for years now. Villarreal are in a great position under Unai Emery at the moment so persuade Torres to part ways with the club of his youth might be easier said than done.
Still, his ability and potential, as well as the perfect profile for Barcelona’s style of play, make him an ideal candidate and it would be a shame not to see him wear the Blaugrana one day in the future.
This is a very cheeky pick, we’ll give you that. But Óscar Mingueza truly does feel like a new signing at this point already, doesn’t he? And the best part about him is that he came from within the club’s academy, didn’t cost a dime, and is proving that the trust in youth can pay off handsomely, in every sense of the word.
One thing to remember here, however, is that despite his brilliant performances so far, we’re yet to see him feature on a more regular basis, meaning the sample for analysis, apart from his time in the academy, of course, is still very small.
But even with that being said, with Mingueza in the team, Barcelona are yet to concede a goal! The youngster has been behind three of their last clean sheets whenever he was in the squad, and there’s no better proof of his quality than that.
And he wasn’t exactly just a passenger getting carried by more experienced players in those matches either. Mingueza seems to have a great understanding of space, positioning, and movement, as well as exhibiting a fair dose of confidence on the ball as well, just as a true Barcelona centre-back should.
Could he really be Ronald Koeman’s ‘early signing‘, a discovery that ends up saving Barcelona money and patience while giving them some hope for the immediate future as well?
Let’s not jump to any conclusions just yet but the early impressions have been great.
Long may it continue.