Barcelona managed just one silverware last season when they won the Copa del Rey after a nightmarish season for the Catalans came to an end. Despite matching toe-to-toe with Real Madrid in the domestic campaign that saw the title race go down right to the wire, Luis Enrique’s men fell short by a point as Los Blancos won the La Liga in the last week of the season.
However, it was not the domestic loss that worried the fans as La Liga has mostly been a two-horse race over the years. It was their European failure rather that brought out the wrath at Camp Nou. Barcelona were outplayed first by Paris Saint-Germain and then by Juventus in the Champions League, bringing in a sinking feeling among the fans.
And the board was quick to react by announcing the removal of the manager at the end of the season quite early, which brought some stability to the side. They have now brought in former Athletic Bilbao manager Ernesto Valverde, who takes over the reins from Enrique. Barca’s horrible season was criticised by many and the failed transfer window by Enrique was pointed to as a reason and fans hope they aren’t going to repeat that next season.
Here are the three players Barcelona should target this summer-
Marco Verratti- The Catalans finally experienced age taking over Andres Iniesta slowly as their midfield hero spent a crucial time of the season on the sidelines, which was followed by repeated injuries. The central midfield has been an assured position for Barcelona for years now with Xavi and Iniesta holding it solid. But, now with one gone and one indicating that his time is up, Barcelona need someone with the equal potential to take up the cudgels.
And the PSG player fits the bill just perfectly. The Italian midfield maestro has been one of the best in his job of late and lack of any real competition in Ligue 1 is only wasting his talent. PSG failed to land Champions League title yet again this season, and the 24-year-old would want to move to bigger venture to earn it.
Andrea Belotti- Another important position where Barcelona are in real crisis is the wings. Apart from the front trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, Barca have suffered to replace them as and when needed. The Argentine winger is looking at a more modified position with age as he continues to push to the attacking midfield.
And Belotti can take the right-wing position just perfectly. The 23-year-old has been Serie A’s latest revelation last season and looks unstoppable with his dangerous runs from wide spaces. With all top European clubs wanting him, he will be difficult to get though.
Cedric Soares- The right-back’s position has been a hugely controversial for Barca this season. And Enrique’s inability to solve it in the winter transfer window when he had a chance, has also put him under huge criticism. The horrific ankle injury to Aleix Vidal meant Barca were left with only Sergi Roberto in that position, and he has been poor.
Barca want a potential addition in that position and this Southampton player surely makes up for it. Although Hector Bellerin was Barca’s primary target, his long-term contract with Arsenal means he is difficult to get. The Portuguese, on the other hand, is very much available and Barcelona could get a long-term option in the 25-year-old.
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