The La Liga club are considering making a move for highly-rated Fiorentina winger Federico Bernardeschi.
According to Lluís Miguelsanz of Spanish publication SPORT, the Catalan giants have joined a number of other European giants are eyeing the 23-year-old Italian International as a possible candidate to strengthen their attacking lineup for the coming season.
Despite failing to qualify for European competition for the first time since 2012, Bernardeschi had his most productive individual season with the Viola, during which he provided 5 assists and scored 14 goals in 42 appearances across all competitions.
He was arguably Stefano Pioli’s best player this past season and his rise to prominence this past season hasn’t gone unnoticed, with the likes of Chelsea, Juventus, Manchester United and Bayern Munich all rumoured to be interested in acquiring his services in the coming transfer window.
Juventus have made a habit of buying some of the best players from their domestic rivals in recent seasons, so it comes as no surprise that they have been linked with the attacker. Earlier this year, it was rumoured that they were set to table a massive €40 million for him in the summer.
Allegri had to resort to playing Mandzukic on the wings this past season due to Marko Pjaca’s inability to make an impact, while Juan Cuadrado, is coming off of a disappointing season with the club where he only scored 2 goals and registered 10 assists in 45 appearances.
Bayern, on the other hand, have begun to look for replacements for the ageing duo of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. Douglas Costa is edging closer to a move away from the Allianz Arena, with Juventus recently confirming the Biaconeri’s interest in the Brazilian.
As per Goal, they will reportedly let Costa go should an offer of around €45 million come their way. They recently signed Kingsley Coman from Juventus permanently and will look to add more firepower to their attack in order to maintain their stronghold at the summit of the Bundesliga.
Chelsea, who return to the UEFA Champions League after a season away, were also linked with the Fiorentina academy graduate. While they already boast the likes of Willian, Pedro and Eden Hazard, Conte would certainly like to have more competition and options within his squad.
Antonio Conte will know the player well from their time together in the Italian National squad. Conte handed Federico his senior debut against Spain in a friendly last year and also included him in Italy’s 22-man squad for the European Championships in France.
The opportunity to team up with Conte once again at Stamford Bridge may prove too tempting for Bernardeschi, but the prospect of having to compete with three other world class wingers for a starting position every week may prove too daunting for him.
In this regard, their domestic rivals Manchester United may have the upper hand in signing him. Jose Mourinho’s side have reportedly been keeping an eye on him and with Rooney and Januzaj set to follow Ibrahimovic out of Old Trafford, quality replacements are required at the club.
With Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard the only other wingers currently at Mourinho’s disposal, Bernardeschi would get an ample amount of time and opportunity to try and break into the first team at the club and at only 23, he could remain their for the long term.
Barcelona could also use some depth upfront in order to ease the goalscoring burden on the likes of Neymar, Messi and Suarez. A prolonged absence of one or more of the MSN trio could prove fatal to Barcelona’s title challenges next term and reinforcements are absolutely needed.
In that respect, the Blaugrana have been heavily linked with Ousmane Dembele of Borussia Dortmund. According to Dairo Gol, the 20-year-old is the first choice candidate to replace Arda Turan, who is edging closer to a move away from the Camp Nou.
Earlier this year it was rumoured that Lionel Messi himself had told the club to sign the young Frenchman, who recently scored his first International goal for France. However, should they miss out on acquiring his services, Bernardeschi has emerged as a fine alternative.
Expected to cost around €40 million, Bernardeschi is yet to extend his current contract which expires in the summer of 2019 and will be very well aware of interested clubs, all of whom can afford to pay him much more and also offer him Champions League football.
The chance to play for Barcelona alongside against some of the best players in the world is an opportunity that a few players are afforded in their lifetime. Blessed with electric pace, superb dribbling ability and an eye of a killer pass, Bernardeschi would suit Barcelona’s style. However, like at Chelsea and Bayern, he will be wary of the sheer quality of players he will have to compete with, and that may prove to be a stumbling block for the Blaugrana in their pursuit of Italian international.