- Barcelona have long been linked with a swoop for Coutinho, Griezmann
- One of the two could arrive at the Nou Camp next year
- Catalan giants have to address key weakness in defence too
- READ MORE: Lionel Messi not happy with Barcelona’s January transfer plan, wants reported €140m target
Top of the La Liga table, through to the Champions League knockout stage. Barcelona may not have many short-term worries, but signings are still needed.
Ernesto Valverde has enjoyed a successful start to life in the hotseat at the Nou Camp in terms of results, but improvements are still required as they haven’t always convinced with their performances.
In turn, although The Guardian paint a not-so-positive picture of a €100m (£88.4m) swoop for Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, the Frenchman will likely remain on their transfer radar leading into the January transfer window.
Much will depend on FIFA’s response to the complaint filed by Atleti over an illegal approach from their La Liga rivals, but there’s no denying that the Frenchman would be a great addition to the squad.
Question marks could be raised over how he would fit in with Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi also to consider, but Valverde would either have to find a way to start the quartet or see the younger French international as a long-term option to replace Suarez up front.
While that move now seems difficult, it’s still perhaps more likely than a deal to sign Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho.
As per BBC Sport, Barca made three bids to prise him away from Anfield this past summer of up to £114m, but each time they were rejected by the Merseyside giants.
Given his form so far this season which has seen him the pull the strings in midfield, create for others and score goals himself, it’s no wonder Barcelona are so keen to snap him up.
Unfortunately for them, there’s no reason why Liverpool’s resolve would be any softer at this point, and so they face a real fight to land a player who could be seen as a long-term replacement for an ageing Andres Iniesta.
Barca must also address problems in defence after Umtiti injury
While those are attacking positions that could be filled, arguably the biggest issue facing Valverde is rebuilding the defence.
With Samuel Umtiti currently sidelined with a hamstring injury until February, it is going to stretch the Catalan giants as Gerard Pique will likely be partnered by Thomas Vermaelen.
As noted by Marca, stalwart Javier Mascherano is pushing for an exit and sensibly, Barca won’t let him go until they’ve found a replacement. Yerry Mina seems to be the most likely solution in a January move as per the report.
If that doesn’t materialise, another option must be considered as Barca surely can’t go through the second half of the campaign with so few options as they pursue major honours. In turn, one of Griezmann or Coutinho plus a defensive talent must be on their Christmas transfer list this year.