The Hard Tackle takes a look at three potential transfer destinations for Miralem Pjanic as Barcelona prepare to offload the Bosnian midfielder.
The ongoing summer transfer window is a big one for Barcelona; perhaps, even the biggest one ever in their history. All of the spotlight is on the Lionel Messi situation and whether the Blaugrana can convince the legendary Argentine forward to commit his future – immediate at the very least if not long-term – to the club he has spent his entire senior footballing career with.
However, the matter is anything but straightforward, as Barcelona are struggling to raise the funds necessary to convince him to sign the dotted line. In order to do so, the Catalan giants need to part ways with players who are surplus to requirements for manager Ronald Koeman.
That will not only help Barcelona raise funds through transfer fee but also free up wages at the same time. To that end, they are hoping to offload some of the highest earners in the squad who no longer have a regular place in the side. Samuel Umtiti is one such player, with the Frenchman likely to have played for the final time for Barcelona. Another player who falls in the same category is Miralem Pjanic.
The Bosnian midfielder joined Barcelona last summer in what was an ill-fated part-exchange deal with Juventus that has not served either club well, with Pjanic and Arthur, who went the other way, failing to impress so far. With Pjanic earning a massive €8 million-a-year wages, getting him off the books could serve Barcelona well.
Mundo Deportivo have a report to the same effect, suggesting that Barcelona are ready to part with the 31-year-old, who could be on the move just one year after arriving at Camp Nou. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle attempts to list three potential destinations for Pjanic in the summer transfer window.
The first option might come as a surprise to many, but a Premier League switch by joining Chelsea or Tottenham Hotspur – another club to be linked with Pjanic lately – cannot really be ruled out. A possible pursuit from Chelsea could make sense as well.
The Blues have sanctioned a loan move for Billy Gilmour, who has joined Norwich City for the 2021/22 season. Gilmour’s temporary departure leaves N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic as the only regular options at Thomas Tuchel’s disposal, as far as central midfield is concerned.
While the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley and Ethan Ampadu, among others, could be hoping to reclaim a place in the Chelsea first-team setup after returning from their respective loan stints last term, they are all expected to depart Stamford Bridge this summer.
To that end, Pjanic would be a viable target for Chelsea, considering he can bring years of top-level experience to the table. That Barcelona are desperate to get rid of him also means that the 31-year-old Camp Nou misfit could arrive at Stamford Bridge on the cheap. With that in mind, Pjanic could well be a worthy investment.
The Juventus option has been floated around as the preference for Pjanic this summer, with the Bosnian midfielder eager to return to Turin and play under Massimiliano Allegri, who brought out the best in him at the Allianz Stadium. Juventus have indeed been heavily linked with Pjanic as well, albeit over a loan deal.
The Bianconeri do not exactly have a loaded midfield unit either, considering Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey are among those facing an uncertain future at the Serie A club. Like Barcelona, Juventus are also in a precarious financial situation and are hoping to get rid of sky-high wages that Ramsey, in particular, is earning.
While Pjanic’s €8 million-a-year pay package might be excessive as well in the current financial climate, there have been suggestions that the 31-year-old is willing to take a pay cut to rejoin Juventus. With the player himself so desperate to secure a return from Barcelona, this might well be the likeliest destination for him this summer.
Finally, we talk about a club that might not really be in need of signing a midfielder following the arrival of Georginio Wijnaldum, who was once a target for Barcelona. However, Paris Saint-Germain still appear to be in the market for a central midfielder, as they look to beef up their squad to finally pave the way for UEFA Champions League glory.
Eduardo Camavinga is one of their key targets, but Pjanic has also been touted to be a player PSG have their sights set on. As things stand, Mauricio Pochettino has as many as six senior midfielders at his disposal, with Edouard Michut and former Barcelona academy star Xavi Simons also hoping to make a breakthrough in the first-team setup.
However, upon closer inspection, it emerges that Ander Herrera, Danilo Pereira and ex-Barcelona midfielder Rafinha Alcantara all have question marks surrounding their futures at Parc des Princes. In such a scenario, a spot for Pjanic might open up, which could explain PSG’s interest in him.
However, with Camavinga being their preference, a move for Pjanic is only likely to be made late on rather than in the coming weeks. With that in mind, Juventus and Chelsea might be ahead of PSG in the race to sign Pjanic from Barcelona, with Juventus, in particular, expected to be the favourites to secure his signature.