Barcelona have already secured their first La Liga title under Xavi Hernandez, but they are not resting on their laurels. The Catalan club have ambitious plans for the summer transfer window, as they aim to strengthen their squad and comply with the Financial Fair Play rules.
After another disappointing campaign in Europe, Barça want to build a team that can compete at the highest level in the Champions League next season.
To do that, they have identified six priority targets for different positions, according to Ferran Martinez of Mundo Deportivo.
Barça have already agreed a deal to sign Inigo Martinez from Athletic Bilbao, but they are still looking for more reinforcements.
Defensive midfielder – Kimmich or Zubimendi Xavi confirmed in his press conference on Monday that finding a successor for Sergio Busquets is his main transfer priority. The club captain will leave as a free agent when his contract expires on June 30, leaving a huge gap in Barça’s midfield.
The ideal candidates to replace him are Joshua Kimmich of Bayern Munich and Martin Zubimendi of Real Sociedad, but both players will be hard to lure away from their clubs.
That’s why Barça have also shortlisted other options, such as Sofyan Amrabat of Fiorentina, Guido Rodriguez of Real Betis, and Ruben Neves of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Lionel Messi – The biggest priority for Barcelona is to bring back their former talisman Lionel Messi, who left for PSG last summer after his contract expired. The Argentine star has been linked with a sensational return to Camp Nou, where he spent 21 years and won 35 trophies.
However, he has not received any formal offer from Barça yet. The club are waiting for La Liga’s approval on their economic viability plan, which will allow them to make a move for Messi.
Ilkay Gundogan – Another player who will be out of contract this summer is Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City. The German midfielder has been one of Pep Guardiola’s most consistent performers in recent years, and he would add quality and experience to Barça’s midfield.
However, Barça face competition from Arsenal for his signature, while Manchester City are also trying to convince him to stay with a longer contract offer.
Yannick Carrasco – Barça are also keen to sign a new left-winger, and they have set their sights on Yannick Carrasco of Atletico Madrid. The Belgian international has been one of Diego Simeone’s key players this season, scoring 10 goals and providing 11 assists in all competitions.
Barça have secured an option to buy him for €15 million, but they are hoping to lower that fee to around €10 million. They could also include Jordi Alba in the deal, as Atleti are interested in the veteran left-back.
Joao Cancelo – on loan Another position that Barça need to address is right-back, as they currently lack a natural option in that role. Xavi’s preferred target is Joao Cancelo of Manchester City, who is on loan at Bayern Munich this season.
The Portuguese international is one of the best full-backs in Europe, and he would fit perfectly into Barça’s style of play. The Catalans want to sign him on loan, and they will ask Jorge Mendes for help to complete the operation.
As alternatives, they have also considered Juan Foyth of Villarreal, Jeremie Frimpong of Bayer Leverkusen, and Arnau Martinez of Barcelona B.
A new striker – Roque or Aubameyang Finally, Barça are also looking for a new centre-forward, as they lack a reliable goalscorer in their squad. Their dream signing is Vitor Roque of Flamengo, who has scored 32 goals in 38 games this season.
However, signing him will not be easy, as he has a €70 million release clause and several other clubs are interested in him. That’s why Barça have also lined up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Plan B.
The Chelsea striker has fallen out of favour under Thomas Tuchel this season, and he could be available for a cut-price fee. He has previously played under Xavi at Al Sadd in Qatar.
Apart from these six priority targets, Barça could also sign Ruben Neves as a bonus signing if they manage to offload some players.