Barcelona have reportedly made the signing of a new left-back as a cover for Jordi Alba a top priority heading into the summer transfer window.
As per a report from Spanish publication MARCA, reigning La Liga champions Barcelona are keen on strengthening their left-back department ahead of the upcoming season, as they seek a quality backup for first-choice in the position, Jordi Alba.
Since joining Barcelona from Valencia back in the summer of 2012, Alba has been the undisputed first-choice at left-back for the Catalans and has established himself as one of the best players in his position across Europe. An integral part of Ernesto Valverde’s plans, the 29-year-old signed a new contract last month, extending his stay at Camp Nou till the summer of 2024.
While Alba’s position in the first-team is untouchable, a lack of a proper back-up for the Spanish international has been a problem for Barcelona. No cover in the position has meant Alba has played in all but one league game for the Catalans, which he missed due to suspension, while he has not featured in just one European encounter.
Barcelona have been fortunate that Alba hasn’t picked up any injury over the course of the season, but are reportedly hoping to address the issue of not having proper cover in the position ahead of the upcoming term.
Lyon full-back Ferland Mendy has emerged as a potential target for the La Liga champions. The 23-year-old has been linked with a switch to Barcelona previously and remains a subject of interest for the club, as per the report from MARCA. However, the Frenchman is likely to cost in the range of €45 million, which the Catalans find a bit excessive.
Academy graduate Marc Cucurella is another potential option for Barcelona. The full-back broke into the senior team last season, but managed a solitary appearance and has been loaned out to Eibar for the ongoing campaign. The 20-year-old has impressed in his spell away from Camp Nou, following which Eibar are believed to be keen on making the move permanent in a €2 million deal.
Should Eibar exercise the option to sign Cucurella permanently, Barcelona can re-sign him for €4 million, as per the agreement with the Basque club. But, the report further adds that the Spaniard is not preferred by manager Valverde and should the champions buy him back, they are only likely to sell him at a higher price, amid interest from Germany.
Another academy product Juan Miranda is a potential option, having made his senior debut earlier this season. However, the 19-year-old, who has featured four times for the first-team, is likely to be farmed out on loan next term in order to continue his development.
The report claims that Atletico Madrid’s Filipe Luis was offered to Barcelona, but the current La Liga title holders are looking for a younger player with a lot of potential.
There is no question that Barcelona need to bring in a new left-back in the summer window, but it remains to be seen if they pursue Mendy’s signature or decide to back Cucurella or Miranda to get the job done from the 2019-20 season.