Barcelona are set to face defeat in their pursuit of Juan Bernat. The Hard Tackle lists three alternatives for the Catalans to target in place of the PSG left-back.
Not too long ago, they were one of the most fearsome forces in all of Europe, an absolute unit that would impose themselves on the best of sides in the continent with ease. That image of Barcelona has long since dissipated, with the club in an absolute mess in the last couple of years or so.
The Catalans have suffered humiliating exits from the UEFA Champions League year after year, and that could well be the case in 2021 as well. Behind the scenes, the colossus of a giant has slowly been crumbling, with Barcelona’s finances in dire straits. In no uncertain terms, a gargantuan is in a crisis as you read this.
Barcelona’s image has not been helped by the recent arrests of former president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his aides either. Nevertheless, it looks like the first-team is finally making some progress under Ronald Koeman despite initial doubts over the Dutchman’s pedigree, even if this progress is being made in the form of baby steps.
Success in the Champions League might elude them once again, but Barcelona will fancy their chances of ending 2020/21 with at least one silverware after completing a famous comeback win to reach the Copa del Rey final earlier this week. The Blaugrana could also be the dark horses in the La Liga title race, seeing as they are just two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, albeit having played a couple of games more.
As for the framework of the team, it is no secret that Barcelona have been in a transition over the course of the season and were in such a state before the campaign even began. Some big changes could be made once the summer transfer window opens as well, with the future of Lionel Messi being the big talking point in and around Camp Nou.
While Messi might be taking all of the spotlight at the moment, one position that is expected to be addressed this summer is the left-back slot. Junior Firpo’s move from Real Betis has just not worked out, either for the player or Barcelona, and it is likely that his misery will be put to an end when the transfer window reopens in the coming months.
With Jordi Alba fast approaching the twilight of his career, Barcelona do not just need a replacement for Firpo but also a player who could fill in Alba’s shoes once the inevitable decline begins, if it hasn’t already. To that end, Juan Bernat was reportedly being viewed as a priority target by Barcelona, especially seeing as his contract with PSG was winding down.
However, the latest reports suggest that Bernat is set to snub Barcelona to pledge his future to PSG. Having received a big blow in pursuit of the Spaniard, Barcelona must quickly turn their attention towards potential alternatives and with that in mind, The Hard Tackle lists three such options that they could target this coming summer.
Tagliafico is a player who has previously been linked with a possible Barcelona switch on a number of occasions. And now might be the time to finally pull the trigger and get the Argentine left-back on-board at Camp Nou.
The 28-year-old’s stock had already been quite high when he joined Ajax from Indipendiente back in 2018. He has since raised his levels remarkably to not only become indispensable for the Dutch giants but also establish himself as one of the best left-backs in all of Europe at present.
A full-back who is very much in the mould of a Jordi Alba, Tagliafico is a menace in the final third. Add to it his connections with Lionel Messi while playing for his national side and it would mean that he could forge a similar partnership with the Barcelona captain as Alba does on a weekly basis, provided Messi stays put at Camp Nou beyond the summer.
What also makes him a player worth pursuing is the fact that his defensive game has also nurtured since he has arrived in Europe, thereby potentially making him an upgrade over Alba as well. And, at 28, he will be able to provide his peak years to Barcelona while also being unlikely to cost a bomb which only adds to the potential allure. For all intents and purposes, Tagliafico could be the most ideal target to pursue this summer.
This one is a potential dark horse. Playing in the same league as Juan Bernat, Amavi is regarded as one of the most accomplished left-backs in Ligue 1 at the moment. He might not be as intimidating a threat in the final third as a Tagliafico or an Alba but he is still an exciting option for Barcelona.
The key factor for Barcelona in their pursuit of Amavi is the fact that the Frenchman’s deal with Marseille is set to run out in the coming summer, meaning he will come for free if the Catalans do push ahead with a move when the transfer window opens again.
Purely from a sporting perspective, though, Amavi will be more of a replacement for Junior Firpo than a competitor for Alba’s spot, seeing as he does not bring a whole lot to the table in terms of output in the final third, especially when compared to the Spanish international.
Having said that, he is relatively more solid at the back, even though he has a tendency to make the odd error at times. And, at 26, he will be able to provide the best years of his career to Barcelona, so if he can progress well under Alba’s wings, he could well be ready to take over from the senior statesman when it is time to move on.
Last but not least is a bit of a left of centre option, as far as finances are involved. Purely in terms of a sporting perspective, the Portuguese international offers more value than either of the options listed before him. However, raising money to sign Guerreiro will be a big challenge for Barcelona.
If they do manage to do so, however, then there might not be a better option for Barcelona to pursue than the 27-year-old, who is at the top of his game and one of the best full-backs in the game currently. His numbers speak for themselves as over the course of his stint with Borussia Dortmund he has a fine tally of 27 goals and 30 assists in 149 appearances.
His injury woes also seem to be well in the past, meaning if he can continue his upward trajectory, Guerreiro could be an even better option for Barcelona than Bernat would theoretically have been. The big question mark, though, will remain his valuation and if Barcelona can raise the funds to swoop him away from Dortmund.