The season’s ended for pretty much all the clubs. Not for Guardiola’s Barcelona, which has a chance to nab trophy no 14 on May 25. But the press has already moved on to more important matters in hand, which means only one thing – TRANSFER RUMOURS. Yes, if it was up to the press every bright star of a rival club could become a Barca player in the upcoming season. So it hardly comes as a surprise that the names of Gareth Bale, Iker Muniain, Robin Van Persie and Javi Martinez are being linked to Barca, given that all have played a vital role in the success of their respective teams this season.
Reinforcements are necessary given that Barca finished second in Liga, nine points behind Real Madrid, and couldn’t even manage to defeat Chelsea in two legs of Champions League. Barca’s now predictable style needs a new dose of players who can not just adapt to its style but also bring their own special strengths in hours of crisis or especially when teams resort to parking the bus against the club. Who better than these four then?
The forward line can be strengthened with the inclusion of Van Persie, the top scorer in English Premier League this season. He has yet to renew his contract with Arsenal, which expires in 2013, and that is just fodder enough to believe that the 28-year-old player only wants to join Barca. And didn’t you hear about that secret visit of Van Persie to Barca team hotel in April in London, where Afellay and Cesc didnt just catch up with the Dutch player but even gave him a peek of his contract. Kidding.
Athletic Bilbao’s Martinez (contract until 2016 and a buyout clause of 40 million) and Muniain (under contract until 2015 and a clause that could reach 45 million) will put their best foot forward on May 25 against Barca in Madrid. Their performances will be watched closely by the Barca bench i.e. if you were to believe the many transfer rumours, which suggest the two are strong candidates to be future Barca players.
As seen, none of these players come cheap and if it’s Barca chasing them then the asking prices go higher. According to El Mundo Deportivo, Barca has around 50 million euros to sign players this season, in addition with the revenue that comes from the sale of Barca players. With Abidal’s liver transplant ruling him out for a considerable time, Bale finds himself in the list of possible left-backs that Barca would consider purchasing. But the big hurdle in getting Bale is his contract which sees him tied to Tottenham until 2015 and with a price tag of 35 million euros.
Nelson Oliveira to Barca
Barça, immersed in the most decisive phase of the season, continues to think about their short and long term sporting plans and therefore continues to follow some of the most exciting players on the national and international scene.
This past weekend, the Portuguese press revealed that some scouts from the blaugrana club were closing in on Nélson Oliveira (20), a promising striker who plays for Benfica and who is apparently garnering interest from Pep Guardiola. The scouts attended Benfica’s match against Marítimo (4-1), which featured an especially brilliant performance from ex-Barça player Nolito.
Oliveira only played for 15 minutes, coming on as a substitute for Cardozo. It was a short time for Barça’s scouts to analyze his progress. However, Barça was not the only club present in Da Luz. According to Portuguese sports paper ‘Record‘, representatives from Chelsea were also at the Lisbon stadium to monitor the player.
Source: Mundo Deportivo, Sport; Photo credit: El Mundo Deportivo