Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has enjoyed quite the start to life in charge of the Catalan giants, and it might only get better for him next year.
Aside from the fact that he’s led the club to top spot in the La Liga table with 10 wins in 11 games so far this season to open up a four-point lead over their nearest rivals, they also lead the way in Group D in the Champions League with a similarly comfortable buffer over the opposition.
Despite losing Neymar this past summer, others have stepped up to ensure that they’ve been a joy to watch so far this season, scoring 30 goals in 11 league games while conceding just four.
All the while after suffering an injury setback to marquee summer signing Ousmane Dembele, there are few complaints to be made at the Nou Camp right now.
Nevertheless, according to Mundo Deportivo, they’re already plotting their transfer moves for next summer with initial plans being drawn out to lay the foundations for a €100m raid on Atletico Madrid for Antoine Griezmann.
That’s the figure of his release clause in his current contract with Atleti, as per the report, which adds that Barcelona are keen to move quickly as the French international is struggling so far this season to make a decisive impact and with competition fierce from the likes of Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, they want to position themselves at the front of the queue in the event that he moves on at the end of the season.
It’s an uncharacteristic struggle for Griezmann considering his form in recent years, as he’s only managed three goals and three assists in 13 appearances in all competitions.
In turn, he’ll likely hope to use the international break to his advantage and for Diego Simeone’s sake, he’ll hopefully return to his previous levels sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile, Mundo Deportivo also report that Barcelona have their sights set on a defensive reinforcement in the shape of Ajax youngster Matthijs de Ligt.
Despite being just 18 years of age, he’s already carved out an important role for himself with the Dutch giants and has impressed both domestically and in Europe so far, dating back to last season.
The backline is an area of long-term concern for Barcelona given the age of the likes of Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique and Thomas Vermaelen, and so bringing in a youngster now to learn the ropes, settle in and eventually replace them in the pecking order would be a very sensible strategy.