Barcelona have reportedly set their sights on Real Sociedad star Mikel Oyarzabal as a potential alternative to former player and long-term transfer target Neymar.
According to a report from Spanish publication Fichajes, La Liga heavyweights Barcelona are looking at alternatives for long-term transfer target Neymar ahead of the summer window and have narrowed in on Real Sociedad star Mikel Oyarzabal as an option.
Barcelona have been heavily linked with a move for Neymar ever since he left Camp Nou to sign for PSG in 2017. However, the Catalans’ current financial situation coupled with the fact that the Brazilian is set to sign a contract extension at Parc des Princes has made it impossible for the club to secure a reunion in the upcoming summer transfer window.
However, Barcelona remain intent on adding a bigger goal threat out on the left flank and as a result, have already begun looking at alternatives, with Real Sociedad’s Mikel Oyarzabal emerging as one. An academy graduate at La Real, the 24-year-old has grown into one of the top wingers in La Liga over the years.
Oyarzabal, till date, has made close to 250 appearances for Real Sociedad, producing an impressive return of 63 goals and 44 assists. The left-winger has enjoyed quite a productive 2020/21 campaign that has seen him rack up a tally of 12 goals and nine assists from 38 games across all competitions, playing a key role in his side’s push for a top six finish.
Oyarzabal has also been capped 13 times by the Spanish national team, for whom he has four goals. The 24-year-old is known for his ability to score and create consistently from the flanks and his intelligence in movement and decision-making, which has put him on the radars of Barcelona heading into the transfer window.
While the Catalans have Ansu Fati as an option on the left flank, both Philippe Coutinho and Francisco Trincao have been linked with exits ahead of the summer transfer window. In addition to that, Ousmane Dembele’s future is also quite unclear as he enters the final year of his contract with Barcelona and continues to attract interest from Manchester United.
So, bringing in someone like Oyarzabal, who has proven himself at this stage and can slot seamlessly into the side would be a smart move by Barcelona. Apart from him, the Blaugrana are looking at Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish as well as Richarlison of Everton, both unrealistic options given their current financial situatio.
Oyarzabal has a contract with Real Sociedad that runs till the summer of 2024, which does put La Real in a strong negotiating position. Thus, it remains to be seen if Barcelona do make an approach for the Spanish international and are able to convince Sociedad to part with him.