Barcelona boss Luis Enrique will let out a huge sigh of relief while welcoming centre-back Gerard Pique for their Saturday clash against Malaga CF. Although the Catalans managed to scrap through quite a many tricky fixtures without first choice defenders, their struggle is very clear to anyone paying attention.
It was but for the trio of Mesi, Neymar and Suarez who pulled them out of some very tight situations, that the situation is not worse at Barcelona.
The realisation that Barcelona could not afford to play the entire season with proper defenders even with 8 defenders in their squad has silenced many critics who denigrated Juventus’ transfer policy of having 10 defenders in their squad. Surely, Allegri can’t play all of them always but it is a huge assurance at the back.
And it seems Barcelona won’t mind taking one from the Italian giants as they are heavily linked with Juventus right back Stephan Lichtsteiner once again, according to reports . The 32-year-old Swiss defender has lost his place in the starting lineup and is considering a move out of the Italian club.
Juventus play 3 at the back, unlike the Blaugranas who play four, and can actually afford to let Lichtsteiner go if the Swiss pushes for a move as they would still be having 6 at their disposal.
After the arrival of Dani Alves, Lichtsteiner is no more regular in the squad. Lichtsteiner does not even seem to be a second fiddle to Alves as Juan Cuadrado can play in his spot, which indicates his position only gets more tenuous. The Swiss was not included in the Champions League squad and although he is a regular in Serie A as part of the rotation, he would surely want more. He has played only 6 games for Juventus in which he has 1 goal and 1 assist.
With the Swiss’ contract running out soon, Barcelona will look to acquire the defender for a good price. This transfer looks more than likely to happen as Juventus are eyeing Milan’s Mattia De Sciglio and could bring him in for the disposal of Lichtsteiner.
Even with Pique, Aleix Vidal and Jeremy Mathieu returning, Barcelona are still without Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umititi at the back. With Barcelona entering into the second phase of the season where the games are likely to increase as the clubs are entering into the knockout stages of the Champions League, squad depth will be an essential factor.