FC Barcelona management has handed over minimum 60 million euros to the Sporting Director Andoni Zubizaretta as transfer budget.
Spanish sports daily “Marca” has made a front page story today, claiming that Barca management knows it needs to overhaul its squad in the close season. There will be several departures and up to four players are expected to arrive – one per area of the pitch. This is the state of play ahead of the upcoming meeting betweenAndoni Zubizarretaand Gerardo Martino, at which they will begin to map out the objectives for next year.
Zubizarreta has been told that he has at least €60 million to spend. What’s more, this figure should rise depending on how much the club brings in through offloading players. Javier Faus, Barça’s vice-president, confirmed as much on ‘Catalunya Ràdio’, stating that there will be “between two and four signings” in the summer.
Change is afoot at Camp Nou and there will be a drastic overhaul whether they win La Liga, the Champions League, the Copa del Rey or even all three. Even Sandro Rosell, the president who delivered Neymar, Jordi Alba and Javier Mascherano, is no longer around to find solutions in the transfer market.
Zubizarreta’s comments this week were illuminating. “We knew that Victor Valdes wasn’t going to stay, now we know that Carles Puyol isn’t going to either,” he said. “They have been two obvious references in our squad. Just taking these two players into account, I would say that it’s already now more than the tweaks we had envisaged.” All that and they are still short of a striker and cover at centre back.
For the time being, Barcelona has committed €10-12 million to snap up Ter Stegen, though the deal has yet to be made official. That leaves around €50 million unaccounted for, small change if the club has its sights on top-class signings.
As such, any blockbuster arrivals may have to be funded by sales. One player who is considered potentially surplus to requirements and offers some resale value is Dani Alves, but the sticking point is his salary, which prices him out of many clubs’ reach.
Another player who could be moved on is Alexis Sánchez. The Chilean would command a substantial fee, which would make it possible to bring in another forward with very different attributes.
Goalkeeper Victor Valdes and centre back Carles Puyol have already confirmed they will exit Camp Nou at the end of the season.
Manager Tata Martino will certainly have to replace two of his key men, as well as bring in any other players he feels will strengthen the team.
English Premier League is expected to be the likeliest destination of most of Barca’s targets.
Chelsea star David Luiz has been linked with for FC Barcelona for the last two years, but this season the rumour has gained momentum due to a lack of first team action at Stamford Bridge.
While occasionally lackadaisical on the pitch, when Luiz plays to his potential he rivals the top centre backs in the world, with his mixture of defensive grit with technique a perfect blend.
Barcelona are also reportedly interested in Daniel Agger of Liverpool and Thomas Vermaelen of Arsenal.