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Summer squad overhaul in FC Barcelona imminent

Barcelona's team celebrating the lone goal against Granada in La Liga's matchday 20. // ALEX CAPARROS/GETTY IMAGES EUROPE
Barcelona’s team celebrating the lone goal against Granada in La Liga’s matchday 20. // ALEX CAPARROS/GETTY IMAGES EUROPE

Barcelona are planning their moves in the coming transfer window, with a squad overhaul on the horizon for the Catalan club.

With the summer transfer window edging closer, the drafting begins for Barcelona.

The Catalans are in a tough situation financially, following the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought many of the club’s revenue streams to a hold. TV rights, game tickets and merchandise sales are among the aspects of the club’s revenue that it is missing out on, and this limits the club’s checkbook for the upcoming transfer window.

According to ESPN, the club is looking for a right-back, a center-back that, in the long run, can replace the aging Gerard Piqué, as well as a physical midfielder. One of the defenders on Barcelona’s list, according to the Spanish news outlet SPORT, is Lazio’s 23-year-old center-back, Luiz Felipe. The Italian news outlet, Gazzetta dello Sport, claims that the price tag put on Felipe is 40 million euros, with him reportedly having been on the Catalans’ radar for several weeks.

More importantly, the club is reportedly targeting either of Neymar and Lautaro Martínez, and this has, per ESPN’s report, caused an internal debate in the club with differing opinions.

Even though the ideal scenario, according to ESPN’s sources, would be to sign both players, the club recognizes the difficulty in doing so. Therefore, it will weigh up its options, while also looking at alternatives that are close to finishing their contracts, or players that are entering their final 12 months.

Either way, swap deals could be the way forward, even though Quique Setién insists that he has no information about any players wanting to leave the club.

Sources explain to ESPN that Inter Milan like Arturo Vidal. Ivan Rakitic, Carles Aleñá and Rafinha are, per the report, also on the list of names that could be included in a swap deal for Lautaro Martínez. The only three players that are untouchable in terms of swap deals are Lionel Messi, Marc-André ter Stegen and Frenkie de Jong, various sources have confirmed to ESPN.

Neymar, who currently is with Paris Saint-Germain, can leave the club by invoking FIFA’s Article 17, whereas Lautaro Martínez‘ release clause is set at 111 million euros. Both prices are considered high by the club, with sources telling ESPN that the Catalans have ‘no intention’ of paying the release clause. The two clubs have even met several times to see whether a swap deal was possible in order to lower the price Barca would have to pay for the young Argentine, according to the aforementioned report.

As for Paris, the club residing in the French capital is looking for more homegrown French players in its squad, per the same report, with Barcelona having a couple of those in Ousmane Dembélé, Samuel Umtiti, and Jean-Clair Todibo, who currently is on loan at Bundesliga side Schalke.

When the transfer window exactly opens is yet unknown, but Barcelona do expect to play their games behind closed doors for the foreseeable future, due to the ongoing pandemic.

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