You’re one of the biggest football clubs in the world and are heading smoothly towards the start of a promising season when, without any warning, one of your star players leaves. You now have 222 million Euros added to your bank balance and only a month to not only replace said star player, but plug in any other holes in your squad too. What do you do?
Laid out here are a few of the ways the board should consider spending the money, with points for and against them. At the end of the day there are no guarantees any of these will take place but as a fanbase we can dream!
(Please note only major money signings are being considered here – major in today’s market of course)
- Philippe Coutinho
The most talked about player (other than Neymar) this summer and one that the board seems to be pushing the hardest for is also one who was never intended as a replacement for Neymar. Coutinho was always a player the club was very interested in, but who they consider to be a long term replacement for Andres Iniesta. Neymar’s sudden departure has encouraged to board to pursue his rival with more gusto. Having already had one bid rejected and with Jurgen Klopp insisting the player isn’t for sale, however, only a massive offer would even be considered by the Liverpool hierarchy. His talent and skill are undeniable, and he would be a great creative outlet to add to the team. Additionally, in recent days Coutinho has confirmed his desire to move but wishes to do so amicably, so only 2 questions remain: To what extent are the Blaugrana willing to pay over the odds for him, making him potentially the second most expensive signing of all time? The more important question, though, is whether a player that’s not really a direct replacement for either Neymar or Iniesta is even worth pursuing so vehemently.
2. Ousmane Dembele
This young, exciting player is most fans’ preferred choice to fill in the Neymar-shaped hole in Valverde’s team. and for good reason. His last season in Germany resulted in 10 goals and 18 assists in all competitions for a young and promising Dortmund team, numbers that weren’t too far off a certain Brazilian’s for the same season. As is with all great players though, the young frenchman is a lot more than just his stats. His electric pace and his unbelievable close-control means that defenders in Spain won’t be pleased with Neymar’s departure for too long. The player is also a self-proclaimed Barca fan and dreams of playing for the club one day; a match made in heaven if there was ever one. What’s stalling this move, then? Dortmund insist that they won’t let him go for any less than a ridiculous amount, meaning that initial estimates of even 100 million Euros may not be enough for the German club, and why would it be? They know how much the club wants him and how much they can afford to pay for him. He should be worth every penny, whether he arrives this season or next.
3. Kylian Mbappé
We have 222 million Euros to spend. We’ve lost our second best player, a key part of our forward line and arguably the best left-sided forward in the world. What better way to replace him than with a player who not only plays in the same position but is also a world beater; a star right now and a superstar in the making. Kylian Mbappé may not have had a lot of time to prove himself in the top flight of world football, but he has made an unforgettable impression in the time he has spent there. He has an uncanny eye for goal, terrorizes defenders seemingly at will and at only 19 has the world at his feet; bucketloads of potential and lots of time in which to achieve it.
Like with any other transfer, his is nigh with complications. He is easily the most expensive player on the list and arguably the most expensive available player in world football. He’s quite close to a Zinedine Zidane and idolizes Ronaldo, with Real Madrid very interested in him. There is a very clear silver lining with his potential signing too, however. With the squad Real Madrid has at its disposal, breaking into Real Madrid’s first team would be near impossible for Mbappé, especially as none of their front three seem to be moving on any time soon. Add to that Barca’s vacant spot, which happens to be for his preferred position, and the Monaco man would be stupid to not at least consider a switch to the Camp Nou. A chance to be start week in, week out for one of the best sides in the world, with the best player in the world creating for you. A dream come true for any forward player, and Mbappé should be no different.
This severely underrated midfielder would not only add some much needed steal to FC Barcelona’s midfield, but would also ensure that FC Barcelona’s Brazilian quota was satisfied (especially considering Douglas’ hopefully imminent departure). His time in China means that he’s accustomed to playing in different surroundings and his history in the English Premier League means he’s done it in the best league in the world. He can pass, score, dribble and more, and Valverde would be ill advised if he does not consider putting in a bid for the midfielder. In today’s market, 40 million would be an absolute bargain for him, and for those of you who haven’t noticed the heavy sarcasm here Paulinho really would be a useful addition to the squad.
So, who’s your pick and why? Let us know in the comments and keep your eyes peeled for more news as this board tries to save themselves from further shame.