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Barcelona’s Summer 2012 Transfer Targets: Who’s coming in and who’s going out?

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Depending upon the outcome of Copa del Rey Final on May 25th against Athletic Bilbao, FC Barcelona can finish the 2011/2012 campaign on a (relative) high.

Winning the domestic Cup competition is nothing to sniff at but it pales to the accomplishments achieved in previous seasons. FC Barcelona finished the season with 91 points; in most cases this total haul would’ve clinched the title in every other league across Europe. However, Real Madrid unseated FC Barcelona at the summit of the Spanish league with a whopping 100 points.

So is it time to panic? Abandon total football?

Not really. However, it is time to make a few adjustments and fine-tune the squad once more. The key adjective here being “fine-tune”.

Unless Sandro Rosell wants to emulate AC Milan’s “model” and hang onto to ageing Champions until they’re approaching retirement he’d be well advised to sell and buy some players.

Whereas the club’s decision to announce their transfer budget ahead of the 2011 transfer window paid rich dividends (signing Cesc Fabregas & Alexis Sanchez below their market value), this year they seem to take a different route. How much money is or isn’t available to Tito Vilanova is pretty much a mystery at this point. However, one is inclined to believe that his transfer kitty is significantly smaller than Guardiola’s in his heyday. Nevertheless, a smaller Barcelona transfer kitty probably still dwarfs that of every other major club bar a few chosen ones (Manchester City, Chelsea FC, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich).

For the purpose of this article let’s assume FC Barcelona has a war chest of 50,000,000 Euro (the transfer budged for 2011). In this massively inflated market it’s probably just enough to open negotiations for Santos Neymar. Bar any significant drop in oil prices it’s not likely that the exorbitant evaluations of top talent will decline anytime soon.

Barcelona were lucky enough that both Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez have made it known that the only wanted to join the Blaugrana which gave the club some leverage for negotiations. This year it’s pretty much open season on anybody. In order to stay competitive in the transfer market FC Barcelona has to sell.

Let’s take a look at some players who are most likely sold this summer.

Likely to be sold:

Seydou Keita, 32 (8,000,000 Euro)*

Ibrahim Afellay, 26 (10,000,000 Euro)*

Isaac Cuenca, 21 (3,000,000 Euro)* or Cristian Tello, 20 (5,000,000 Euro)*

Should be sold:

David Villa, 30 (35,000,000 Euro)*

Could be sold:

Pedro, 24 (28,000,000 Euro)*

 

The Breakdown:

Seydou Keita should be sold. The Malian, 32, has never been a regular under Pep Guardiola and will most likely not become one for Tito Vilanova either. The 8,000,000 Euro evaluation represent the high-end of what Barcelona can expect from any sale. The benchmark is Ricardo Carvalho’s transfer from Chelsea to Real Madrid for 8,000,000 Euro. However, Carvalho was a starter in the Blues set-up and one of the best defenders in the EPL. Hence the more realistic fee the Blaugrana can expect is somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,000,000 Euro.

Verdict: Any proposed sale of Ibrahim Afellay would certainly take place after the 2012 European Championships. At present his market value is set at 10,000,000 Euro. A fine performance in the tournament could potentially double his value.

Verdict: Barcelona is not short on wide options (Pedro, Cuenca. Tello, Alexis) so they would probably entertain any offer of 15,000,000 Euro and more.

As mentioned earlier, Barcelona has a lot of wide options. Therefore it would only make sense to sell either Cuenca or Tello. Jeffren was sold to Sporting Lisbon in the previous season and there’s nothing to suggest that it won’t happen again.

Verdict: Liverpool are credited with an interested in Cuenca. 6 – 7,000,000 Euro (for either) seem reasonable since Barcelona sold Oriol Romeu, who had virtually no first team experience, to Chelsea for approximately 5,000,000 Euro.

As fine a player David Villa is, he is just not what Barcelona need (at least the incarnation where Lionel Messi plays centrally). If the plan is to keep him on the left-wing it would be wiser to sell him. Alexis Sanchez wasn’t acquired to warm the bench and Pedro is showing signs that he’s returning to form.

Furthermore, in Cuenca and Tello Barcelona have ready-made back-up players. At 30 years of age his transfer value will drop in subsequent seasons. Though he is rated at 35,000,000 Euro a more realistic fee would be 20 – 24,000,000 Euro.

The most expensive 30 year old was Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan to Chelsea for 46,000,000 Euro). Nevertheless he was Serie A’s best player and a Ballon d’Or winner. Both Thierry Henry and Ruud Van Nistelrooy transferred to Barcelona and Real Madrid at the age of 30 (Henry turned 30 in the 2007 calendar year) for 24,000,000 Euro.

But that would be the high-end for David Villa. After all, El Guaje turns 31 in December. Sell him and remove his annual wages of 7,500,000 Euro would free up additional funds.

If someone would match Pedro’s evaluation of 28,000,000 Euro it’s probably for the better to sell him. Another inconsistent season and his market value could be less than half. He’s a good player but there’s nothing to suggest that Cuenca or Tello can’t match him. Any offer upwards of 20,000,000 Euro should be seriously considered.

As far acquisitions are concerned there are two positions that need to be addressed – left-back and central defense, perhaps another striker (one that actually plays as a striker).

Center-back:

According to various press reports Barcelona have made AC Milan’s Thiago Silva (rated: 32,000,000 Euro)* their primary transfer target. If these reports are to be believed Barcelona are convinced they can do a deal for about 25,000,000 Euro.

It’s not going to happen folks. Not for 25,000,000 Euro. Adriano Gallani is a lot of things, for instance he looks like Uncle Fester, but he’s arguably the best negotiator in all of football. Along with Ibrahimovic (who he shrewdly bought from Barcelona for just 24,000,000 Euro), Silva is Milan’s most valuable asset. Galliani has already been tasked with rebuilding AC Milan on a shoestring budget and it’s not likely that he’ll sell a world-class defender below market value.

Alternative: Mats Hummels, 23 (20,000,000 Euro)*

Coming off of a second successive German championship the Borussia Dortmund defender wouldn’t come cheap but propose a viable alternative to the Brazilian. A full German International, technically sound, superb sense positioning and, most importantly, he can pass a ball. Perhaps Bundesliga’s best central-defender he is already bordering on world-class, if he isn’t already. Though Dortmund have announced that they aren’t entertaining any sales, save for the inevitable departure of Shinji Kagawa, stranger things have happened.

Verdict: A bid of 25 – 30,000,000 Euro would almost certainly test their resolve. Nevertheless, Mats Hummels doesn’t seem to appear on Barcelona’s radar.

Left-back:

Jordi Alba, 23 (10,000,000 Euro)*

At this point it’s almost a forgone conclusion that Alba either extends his contract with Valancia or rejoins Barcelona. The press suggests that Barcelona is preparing an offer to the tune of 12 – 15,000,000 Euro.

Verdict: Will most likely happen. With one year left on his Valencia contract can’t expect to fetch more than 15,000,000 Euro especially once he makes his desire known to return to Barcelona. In 2010 Mesut Özil transferred under similar circumstances and fee from Werder Bremen to Real Madrid.

Fantasy Football: Gareth Bale, 23 (35,000,000 Euro)*

To make it short – he’s too expensive. EPL-based players are unreasonably more expensive than their continental counterparts. Andy Carroll, Shaun Wright-Phillps, James Milner etc.

Verdict: Not gonna happen

Striker:

Barcelona were found out – opposing teams have figured out how to stop the Blaugrana. However, only a couple of them have the necessary players to execute that particular game plan.

While Barcelona’s usual game plan will work almost against every La Liga team and most European sides, it will most likely not be effective against the likes of Chelsea or Madrid who sit deep and attack on the counter. And there’s the emerging giant Manchester City who could virtually field 10 world-class defenders. A frightening thought.

David Villa is a world-class striker; at least he used to be. But he is absolutely wasted on the left-wing. The feeling, however, is that his situation will not change anytime soon. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t have the imposing striker physique that Pep has mistaken him for a winger. Who knows? Barcelona need an out-and-out striker. Ever seen a Barcelona corner? Nothing fruitful ever happens following a corner. Never. Hence a couple of (potential) recruits.

Fernando Llorente, 27 (25,000,000 Euro)*

He’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic minus the outstanding technique and ego. But he more than compensates that with an exceptional work-rate. At any rate, he has quite exceptional technique for a tall guy.

Verdict: 30 – 35,000,000 Euro and not a penny less. Llorente would walk into most sides. On second thought, there isn’t any side that wouldn’t make him their focal point. If Barcelona still have money in the bank after acquiring their primary targets this one is a realistic possibility.

Robin Van Persie, 28 (45,000,000 Euro)*

Europe’s most wanted. The market value credited above is NOT what Arsenal are stand to make should they cash in on their captain – it’s merely a reflection of his outstanding season. Barcelona are said to be interested in the flying Dutchman but apparently he’s asking for a wage package north of 200,000 Euro/week, which would make the highest earner alongside Lionel Messi. Arsenal are reportedly offering 120,000 GBP/week (roughly 150,000 Euro). And then there are the usual suspects of Manchester City, Real Madrid and Italian Champions Juventus Turin.

Verdict: Robin Van Persie could become the first player who commands a 30,000,000 Euro transfer fee in the last year of his contract. The previous high was Samir Nasri’s 27,500,000 Euro from Arsenal to Manchester City. 45,000,000 Euro seem out of the question but 30,000,000 Euro is a distinct possibility if City decide to blow the competition out of the water. Though FC Barcelona have been financially irresponsible in the past it’s unlikely that they will engage in bidding war for a player that only has one year left on his contract.

 

Overall analysis:

Assuming Barcelona have a basic transfer budget of 50,000,000 Euro and raise cash through the sales of players such as Seydou Keita, Ibrahim Afellay, Isaac Cuenca or Cristian Tello, David Villa and Pedro, they could potentially look 110,000,000 Euro to reinvest in the squad. Unless Barcelona wants to add a striker to their ranks there’s no reason to sell David Villa or Pedro. In that case 50,000,000 Euro should be sufficient enough to buy a world-class center-back and a left-back. A complete overhaul isn’t needed but addressing the left-back and center-back position is essential in mounting another title challenge.

*transfer values courtesy of www.transfermarkt.de

You can always disagree and argue with me on Twitter @JubeiKibagame.

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Comments (44)

  1. They could sell Villa and Keita, they are an excess and bank the money for future use or buy sweets for their fans. Honestly, I dont think they need any one else this season. With last seasons’s acquisition of Fabs, Cuenca and Allexis, also Mascerrano doing a good job f assisting the ageing captain, Pedro is as good. DONT BUY!

    • We need suarez and tiago silva urgently and also kieta should leave why villa should stay

  2. A good Central defender is needed in d ranks of Thiago Silva. Jordi Alba will certainly be an ideal left back for us. Most importantly for very difficult games, we need an out n out striker in d ranks of Radamel Falcao(Athletico Madrid) or Llorente. Van persie has just got one good season n every1 is already screaming of him. I don’t think he’ll b consistent in Barca.If we really wanna get dat CL or League trophy, a good out striker is needed.If it means selling players like Villa n Keita †̥ get Falcao, it should be done. He’s just too good n will fit well in Barca.

  3. Quote
    “Fantasy Football: Gareth Bale, 23 (35,000,000 Euro)* English Internationals are unreasonably more expensive than their continental counterparts. Andy Carroll, Shaun Wright-Phillps, James Milner etc.”

    Since when has WALES International Gareth Bale been English.
    Get your facts correct!

    • You’re right, of course, but the fact still remains – English Premier League footballers – the popular ones – can be over-hyped and have inflated price tags.

  4. Bale is vastly overrated and is more of the mold of Real Madrid than Barcelona.

  5. David Villa is not what Barcelona need? Losing Villa was the main reason Barcelona have struggled at times this season. Next reason was the signing of Fabregas. Villa offers width on the left that nobody else does and his natural goalscoring instincts have been truly missed. Cruyff even stated how underrated Villa’s position in the team was, since his injury it’s become massively evident.

    What’s even-more worrying is the feeling that RVP is needed to come in, where exactly will Van Persie play? On the left? There’s no way Messi will be moved from the false nine position and RVP’s al round game is not strong enough to play out there for Barcelona. One fantastic year(2011) and suddenly RVP is the best thing since sliced bread, he had a world class year but in 2012 he’s failed to score in over half his appearances and went a run of 1 goal in seven games, which was against the mighty Wolves!

    David Villa is more suited to Barcelona than Robin Van Persie, who will probably end up and Manchester City anyway.

  6. Thank you Colin. My thoughts exactly!! David Villa’s injury is the reason why we dint finish the season as expected in terms of trophies. No striker in the market right now will become more suited to the left wing role at Barca better than Villa. No Rooney, no RVP, no Aguero, nobody.

    Villa/Messi/Alexis and Villa/Messi/Pedro is what I’m looking forward to seeing in the next season.

  7. Anyone else thinking Mamadou Sakho of PSG for LB? Very similar to Abidal and has that height we sometimes desperately need. He is primarily a CB but can play LB (two birds one stone!) If we can net him, Thiago Silva would surely be our best bet for CB and him and the REAL Piqué must make the best CB pairing in world football!

    • The problem with Sakho – PSG have steep pockets. They don’t want to sell and don’t need to sell. But I agree he is a fine choice.

      • I agree with you on this , but still Sakho is not that player for barca .. but he is young and can grow to be the next abidal .. although abidal was considered the weakness point in Barca for years

  8. you seriously thing they’ll sell villa, one of the best strikers in world football ? and get van persie ? you clearly know nothing of FCM

    • I supposed you haven’t read my piece correctly. I’ve made it clear that I rate David Villa as high as you do.

      “As fine a player David Villa is, he is just not what Barcelona need (at least the incarnation where Lionel Messi plays centrally). If the plan is to keep him on the left-wing it would be wiser to sell him.”

      Please read that before posting rubbish comments on one of my articles. However, you and I seem to agree on the fact that David Villa is a striker and not a makeshift left-winger. But the real, and more important, question is – when, if ever, has David Villa played as a central striker for FC Barcelona?

      Lionel Messi can score loads of goals (38 in 2008/2009) from the right-wing but David Villa isn’t as productive from the left-hand side of attack. Hence the suggestion to sell him and buy a striker who “looks” more like one. Do you really think Fernando Llorente would be pushed out wide? I don’t think so. Same goes for Robin Van Persie.

      In the end I rather have Messi score 20 goals less but David Villa or Pedro score 20 more.

      • i would disagree with you as villa was playing on the left wing for spain in WC 2010 .. and they have won it ..he is wonderful on the wings
        RVP is not for barca ..turning to 29 very soon .. very expensive .. cant play on the wings like villa .. having foolish and unpredictable behavior which is critical for barca ..
        Liorente seems very much better choice for barca .. specially when he proved that he can be a world assister as he did in Schalka game.. but still very expensive and would drift barca way of playing

        • Your argument is flawed since we bought David Villa at the exact same age – he turned 29 in December 2010. And once again – I’d buy RvP as a striker. Messi has proved he can score in excess of 30 goals from the wing. However, David Villa is not capable of delivering the same kind of numbers from the left wing. Hence the suggestion to either play him in his natural position – central striker – or buy a genuine left-winger. While Neymar is primarly a striker, he’s still young and more importantly, far more skilled at taking defenders 1-on-1 than Villa.

  9. llorente, hummels and alba is what i suggest.

  10. Up barca, i wish barca should try to rech agrement on those player such as gareth bale, david luiz, or silver, neymar and didier drogba

  11. Up barca 4 lf. Lf contract

  12. I would take any bid that’s up 25.000.000 Euro for Pedro, 35.000.0000 for Villa and 10.000.000 for Afellay. Best move is to replace Keita with Javi Martinez who can play CB as well. Then take Falcao or Llorente for Villa. I agree that losing Villa was the main reason Barcelona have struggled at times this season but he’s aging and no-one can predict his form after his injury. RVP is too expensive and currently overrated. Neymar is fantasy football but if any club can persuade him it’s Barça.

    • I think we can fetch more for Afellay but 35 for Villa is a stretch. 25 at best. Remember he’s turning 31 in December. Neymar has different characteristics than both Alexis and Pedro. He’s direct, selfish and super confident – exactly what Barca need. We don’t another player who succumbs to Lionel Messi’s every wish. That’s why we are missing Samuel Eto’o – he’d just go for goal himself as opposed to Villa who looks for Messi at each and every turn.

  13. i hate barca… if they want to win trophies they should buy more needed players then selling them this way they will gain money but looze their chances of winning trophies…right?

    • if you hate barca .. why do u care on reading and commenting there subjects .. why do u care of giving them advise .. please dont hate anybody or any club … love urs ..dont hate the others .. hate is a very bad work at the end.

  14. heres what i suggest – if possible rooney,and bale for attack – kagawa,and sahin for midfield – hummels and david luiz for defence. but rooney david luiz and bale are too expensive and too overrated

  15. Selling villa is not good because villa is one of the best player in the world

  16. What about Edison Cavani? Napoli haven’t won any major trophies this season so we could get him for far less than what we’d have to pay for Llorente + he’s younger. Alba’s deal is done (Emery, Valencia’s former coach, confirmed it) so we can forget about Bale. RVP is the kind of signing Joan Laporta would’ve made, not Sandro Rossell. Puyol’s got another year left in him but if he can still get a centre half to start filling Puyol’s shoes a year early then great – personally I’d go for Javi Martinez – but the most important thing right now is to get a world class striker and a left-back. Very well written article, I almost agree with everything you’ve said besides the potential transfer targets. I believe that just like last season, we can get more for less this season too

    • they can get adebayor for free.. who can work as outright striker when the need arise.. Also Nagredo can be a cheap option..

  17. Oh and as far as Mats Hummels is concerned, last time we signed a German player (Bernd Schuster) he stabbed us in the back and went off the Madrid. If Hummels does come, and if, God forbid, Barca have another disappointing season, who’s to say that he won’t be attracted by the prospect of playing alongside his national team mates (Khedira, Ozil) and winning trophies at RM?

  18. Adi-Oula Sebastian – There is no way Barcelona would sign RVP and move Messi out wide to accommodate him!

    If Barcelona are going to move Messi to get an out and out striker through the middle, then who better than the most consistent goalscorer over the last 10 years than David Villa to play that role?

    As for Villa not being as productive, yes he didn’t score as many as most believed, but he was playing out wide and still got 23 goals, a very good return for a wide player who was not 1st choice penalty taker. His width has solely been missed as I mentioned above.

    As for the comment about Villa looking for Messi all the time, it’s completely false. Villa had 133 shots in La Liga during his first season with Barcelona, only 6 less than his shot attempts in his final season with Valencia. Messi only had 17 more shot’s that season!

    Neymar is the last thing Barcelona need, a player who loves himself and is very greedy whilst looking out his depth at the Copa America and against Barcelona. The lad might look great against defences that stand off him, similar to Robinho in his time in Brazil. Robinho didn’t turn out half the player he was reported to be!

    Villa, Messi and either Pedro/Sanchez next season is the way to go for Barcelona.

    • True words from Colin, perhaps Neymar is a second Robinho, who knows? But i believe we could use another striker like Radamel Falcao who is on a high these days. Pedro just isn’t making much progress any more and Tello still has lots to learn. I also don’t see Afellay reaching the top. If we have another injury this year in the front line there is just no solution. If not Falcao why not Iker Muniain. Anyway the only move i’m 100% sure of is to replace Keita with Javi Martinez. Then we could also use a LB, perhaps Jordi Alba is the best price/quality solution. So Falcao, Martinez and Alba in, Keita, Pedro, Afellay, perhaps Adriano out to raise the funds. Bale perhaps next year, as his price would be too high now. Then also find a solution for the many talents like Fontas, Planas, Muniesa, Bartra.. At the moment i’m only convinced by barca B players like Cuenca and Montoya.

  19. For this season
    Don’t Buy, Don’t sale…!!
    (Loan-Keita/villa)

  20. You guys i think you have talked alot of different players, but let me asure you,barcelona don’t need a striker or a winger from the actual point we just need a defender or two.My suggetion is if we can buy Mats Hummals,Javier Martinez to be along side Pique & just Joldi Albar with our own Adriano believe you me we can still do it even in the next season.

  21. Barça1994,
    Listern ‘why not Iker Muniain’as i said erlier we do not need any attacking or defensive midfieders in our squad.Let’s just fight to buy defenders and that will be all or better still we can aleast gloom our own Fontas though he is a bit slow but it’s with time dude.

  22. I agree that PSGs new found wealth it maybe hard to get Sakho. I also agree that Falcao, JM and Alba would be phenom however I think we would be looking at in excess of 100m euros to capture them and the first two aren’t guaranteed to start. Falcao is a scoring beast but not sure he’s as versatile as Villa….. Villa surely must be kept he’s so important as its Dani Alves, whom I keep seeing being linked away. Although a tad frustrating at times, his role is vital for Barca’s system. Would love to see Redamel at the Camp Nou! I’d for sure entertain the idea of getting Drogba for a couple of years as a plan B who is not going to cost the Earth

  23. Well barca needs a good a left back, 2 centre backs, and 2 strikers

  24. We neen neymer, falcao,gareth bale and thiago silver to make the team standard

  25. We don’t need 2 sell villa all we need is 2 sell kaita, tello, afellay nd loan villa once we do dis we can now purchase neymar, jmartinez, alba nd tiago silva

  26. I really thing that Barcelona’s transfer targets should be:

    Gareth Bale- the main one- should be
    Vertonghen or Vermaelen because PUYOL is getting old for the football
    Keep David Villa and Pedro.

  27. I opine that selling pedro at his MV will be great since he is showing no signs of getting back to his best,if we can get Falcao then selling Villa(my favourite striker) at the MV,bcos of his age,wld be laudable.I also think we cld get thiago silva with a lil bit of persistence bcos of the transfer history barca n milan have.Most importantly a CB n. LB positions shld be addressed with alacrity,getting a striker shld be secondary bt if we wanna keep messi as our false 9,thn I’ll relish a neymar-messi-sanchez(who I think will explode next season) attack,alternatively,get llorente to pose aerial threats when teams like chelsea,madrid park the bus

  28. Barca nd Collocini,jordi alba,llorente,nilmar

  29. Player to Buy
    CB-> Thiago Silva/Hummels/Sakho/David Luiz
    LB-> Jordi Alba

    To be sold
    Keita(we have busquests n Mascherano)

    Affelay(i dont want him to go)–> he is one of the players(along with VILLA) who can score longrange goals which BARCA really lacks!!

    We dont need a forward now. Villa is a world class striker..Remember the goal against MANU in CL finals? Equaliser agaist madrid in supercup 1st league?..He is far more better choice than sanchez/fabregas/pedro when is comes to FINISHING! Barca struggled without Villa this season.. Barca should play VILLA this season.. Sign NEYMAR in january :) All we need is CB and LB ..

  30. Thiago Silva, Jordi Alba, Llorente is what I’d like to suggest (with the possible sale of Pedro along with Keita). Barcelona will surely need extra funds to buy the 3 players I mentioned above, assuming their initial budget to be 50 million euros. CB and LB are urgently required. Llorente can wait but is still required as Barca have not had an out and out striker since Samuel Eto’o.

  31. Must get defenders as you can always win 1-0
    Jordi Alba and his partner Rami from Valencia
    Wow!

    Why is Neymar never mentioned ??