According to Barcelona based paper Sport, Tito Vilanova will be in charge of a blaugrana squad next year with several new faces in it. The newly appointed coach for next season will not present any traumatic changes nor will he necessitate a revision of the plans designed by the sports directors. And the previous discussions between Pep, Zubizarreta and vice president Bartomeu have always relied on the involvement of Tito Vilanova.
There is a lot of work ahead, but the first steps have already been taken in decisive form. Building on rumours published in their paper several weeks ago, Sport strongly believes that La Masia graduate Jordi Alba is bound for Barça. The uncertainty of Eric Abidal’s availability in the upcoming season necessitates the need for a left-back even more. The circumstances for signing Alba seem ideal. The Valencia left back’s contract finishes in 2013 and the only thing remaining is to seal the transfer price of the player. A deal can be struck between the two clubs, or Alba could return to Barça in two seasons for free. Everything indicates that Barça and Valencia will agree to an amount to settle any contention that might arise.
Alba is the first transfer target, but not the only one. The defense requires the addition of another central defender. There are two alternatives: in the case of having a generous spending budget, Thiago Silva continues to be the favoured choice, though Milan is not in favour of the transfer and signing the Brazilian is complicated by a price tag of 30 million euros or more. The second option, if the purse strings are tightened, is to search for a promising young defender.
Where there might be some surprises is in the attack. For many months the coaches have been convinced of the necessity of reinforcing a front line excessively dependent on Messi. It’s true that Villa’s injury hurt the blaugrana’s attack, but it has been deemed necessary to have a player with the typical profile of a no. 9 to offer other tactical options. Since the news of his appointment for next season, more than one person has recalled Tito Vilanova’s statements extolling the virtues of Athletic Bilbao and Spain international forward Fernando Llorente.
Additionally, gaining more weight is the theory that the club is seeking a second striker that specializes in one on ones on the wing. The market offers many interesting options and at reasonable prices. Logically, these significant changes would mean the transfer of one of the team’s current forwards as well as the transfer of Tello or Cuenca.
Source: Sport; Photo credit: LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images