The La Liga champions are interested in Arsenal and Atletico Madrid target Elseid Hysaj as a replacement for the outgoing Dani Alves.
The Albanian full back has enjoyed a stellar debut season at Napoli, establishing himself as the undisputed first team right back and making 43 appearances for the Italian giants. His performances haven’t gone unnoticed by Europe’s elite clubs and he has garnered interest from Bayern, Atletico Madrid and Arsenal.
According to a report in Football Italia, Le10 Sport claimed that Arsenal increased their €15 million offer to €19 million, in a bid to lure him away from Naples. Hysaj had moved to Naples from Empoli for €5 million and Arsenal’s offer would see his valuation quadruple in the space of only one season. According to Le10 Sport (via SPORT) Barcelona have begun tracking the 22-year-old after rivals Atletico was reported to be monitoring his progress over the course of several games.
Meanwhile, Southampton’s Cedric Soares and Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin have also been linked with Barcelona. The Catalan giants are looking to replace the legendary Dani Alves, who is set to join Juventus this summer. But their hopes of landing the Arsenal star were dealt a huge blow after the Spaniard pledged his allegiance to the Gunners and ruled out a move away from the Emirates this summer.
A little Hysaj History
The Albanian international is currently with his side’s European Championship contingent in France and was a part of their historic victory against Romania in their final group stage match. The full-back has had a superb season for Napoli, helping them finish as runners-up in the Serie A which also guarantees a spot in next season’s Champions League.
Hysaj has been capped over 20 times for his country and he has made 152 club appearances for Napoli and Empoli combined. At the age of 17, he made his debut for Empoli in Serie B and went on to make over 100 appearances for them, helping them get promoted to the Serie A before his eventual move to Napoli for €5 million. On the 28th of May, he became his country’s youngest ever captain when he led his team out against Qatar in a Euro 2016 warm up game.
Standing 6 ft tall, Hysaj is a commanding presence on the pitch and his known for his technical ability. He has been described by the Albanian manager to be ‘very intelligent’ and a ‘balanced’ player. His versatility allows him to fit in at either right or left back with ease, something Barcelona would be interested in given the lack of depth in their squad.
The Albanian has the pace to match some of the best wingers in today’s game. His over-lapping runs forward have been known to cause problems for opposing fullbacks and wingers. A good crosser of the ball, he is known to be extremely efficient with his distribution of the ball.
Just 22 years old, Hysaj has consistently improved season after season and looks set to develop into an accomplished defender. The Albanian has the world at his feet and best years are ahead of him. This is the perfect time for Hysaj to take the next step in his career and given that he wouldn’t have any competition for the right-back position at the Nou Camp, Barcelona would be the perfect destination for the young full-back to grow and realize his full potential.