Real Madrid’s 14th Champions League title was definitely felt back in Barcelona. Seeing their fiercest rivals lift another European trophy surely must have stung given the way the season played out for the Catalans.
One of the things we saw from Madrid’s win was how well their defense played. That area of the pitch has been a sore spot for Barcelona for a while now so it should come as no surprise their desire to strengthen that position.
Some of the names on their list include Jules Kounde, Matthijs de Ligt and Kalidou Koulibaly. While the first two are out of their reach given how much they would cost, the Napoli defender could be a more viable acquisition.
According to Sport, Miralem Pjanic could be used as a bargaining chip to acquire the Senegalese defender. Pjanic is set to return to Barcelona following his loan move but is not a player Xavi Hernandez is counting on. Furthermore, Napoli have shown interest in Pjanic so they believe there is a deal to be made.
Koulibaly’s contract ends in 2023 and has no intention of renewing. Therefore, Napoli would like to sell and not lose him on a free. The Serie A side have set a transfer fee of €35 million.
Barcelona see him as an ideal partner to Ronald Araujo. Aside from the 30-year-old being available, another reason why the club is interest in him, and some of the other names mentioned, is there is some concern about the future of Gerard Pique.
The question is not whether or not he’ll be at Barcelona next season rather they are concerned about his fitness.
The 35-year-old struggled to stay fit last season and given his age, those injuries may be recurring ones. His outside interests are also playing a factor and they want to have a solid back-up plan.
Whether Napoli would be interested in a player swap plus a transfer fee remains to be seen. Even if they are, the amount they end up decreasing may still be too much for a Barcelona side still riddled with financial uncertainty.
A “revolution” at the club was promised. Despite some early optimism about a squad overhaul, the more time passes, the more pessimistic things seem to become. They have a lot of work to do and time is not in Barcelona’s favor.