Barcelona have reportedly set their sights on Ajax centre-back Davinson Sanchez.
Spanish publication AS have reported that Barcelona are eager to sign a central defender in the summer transfer window and have turned to Ajax for reinforcement. The Catalan club are eyeing Davinson Sanchez as a long-term prospect at the back and are set to make a move for the Colombian international.
2016/17 has been a rather topsy-turvy season for Barcelona as they struggled to remain consistent in La Liga before climbing to the top of the table earlier this month. They bowed out of the Champions League at the quarterfinal stage for the second successive season. Although, they have managed to make the final of the Copa Del Rey.
The ups and downs on the field have been characterized best by the performance over the season by various departments in Luis Enrique’s side. The attack has been imperative for the most part and the midfielders have remained largely consistent as well.
A very composed centre back, will be at a top club like Barcelona in a couple years. pic.twitter.com/l5M1gBq9rt
— ㅤㅤㅤ (@TotalxFussball) April 20, 2017
But, defence has been a big problem area for Barcelona this season, blowing hot and cold all through the campaign and conceding more than a goal per game on average in the Champions League and La Liga.
Central defence, in particular, has been an area of concern for Luis Enrique, with Jeremy Mathieu turning in sub-par performances and Javier Mascherano being beset by fitness issues for large parts of the campaign.
Samuel Umtiti has been an inspired signing and the Frenchman has been one of the best defenders in Spain this season. But, Gerard Pique has had his ups and downs as well. Thus, central defence has become a priority for the summer transfer window for Barcelona.
And judging by the latest reports, they have set their sights on one of the most highly rated defenders in Europe – Davinson Sanchez of Ajax. Barcelona have been tracking the progress of the 20-year-old for a long time, and they even tried signing him last summer, before he rejected them in favour of Ajax.
The move to Amsterdam from Atletico Nacional has been fruitful for the Colombian international as he has played all but one game in Eredivisie for Ajax, even chipping in with five goals and two assists for the club. And after slowly settling in to his new surroundings, Sanchez has become a rock at the back for his side.
But, what makes Sanchez such a perfect fit for Barcelona is his adeptness to play in a possession-based system that is employed at Camp Nou, with Ajax also playing with a similar style. The 20-year-old is comfortable on the ball, and has an impressive passing success rate of 90%.
In addition to that, he has been calm and assured while defending, making him an ideal target for Barcelona to consider. Mathieu will depart from Camp Nou in the summer in all likelihood, while Mascherano is on the wrong side of 30.
With Pique being inconsistent this season, he could potentially be moved down the pecking order if Sanchez arrives, with the report stating that Barcelona view the Colombian as the long-term partner for Umtiti at the heart of their defence.
Barcelona, though, will have to fork out €25 million in order to secure the services of Sanchez. The fee is unlikely to be a stumbling block for the Blaugrana and it remains to be seen if they can persuade Sanchez to make the switch to La Liga, one year after their first failed attempt at signing him.