Although they secured the La Liga title and Copa del Rey double this season, question marks have been raised about Barcelona’s defence on occasion.
For a side that has conceded just 29 goals in 37 league games, the second best defensive record in the top flight, it seems strange to suggest that reinforcements may be needed in that department.
Nevertheless, as seen in their capitulation against Roma in the Champions League, and in the 5-4 defeat to Levante last weekend which ended their hopes of finishing the domestic campaign unbeaten, there are flaws and a notable lack of depth in the backline for Ernesto Valverde.
Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti have built a strong partnership for the most part, but with an ageing stalwart in Thomas Vermaelen and an inexperienced Yerry Mina acting as back-up, it’s surely not enough for the Catalan giants to continue to compete for major honours in the years ahead.
In turn, suggestions that they’re looking to improve their defence are understandable, with Mundo Deportivo running a report claiming that Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, Paris Saint-Germain’s Marquinhos and Ajax youngster Matthijs de Ligt are all on their ‘dream’ radar to solve the issue.
It’s added Koulibaly could cost €70m, as per the his release clause, while Goal.com note that De Ligt could fetch a fee of around €55m this summer. Combine that with Marquinho’s likely price-tag, and that’s an expensive shortlist.
As a result, it’s no wonder that Mundo Deportivo make a point of the fact that Barcelona will find it difficult to secure agreements for the targets in question. Nevertheless, if they wish to add real quality to the side and shore up their backline to offer serious competition for places, any of the three mentioned above would be fantastic signings.
Koulibaly has been a rock for Napoli as they continued to fight for the Serie A title this season, while De Ligt has shown plenty of promise early in his career. As for Marquinhos, during his spells with Roma and PSG, he’s certainly established himself as a defensively sound and stylish centre-half who could fit in at the Nou Camp perfectly.