Neymar, Photo Credit: The Sun
Barca has successfully moved Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain for a record-breaking €222 million but the winger’s departure from Catalonia’s capital has left a gaping hole in team’s lineup – one they’re eager to fill before the season begins. So, which players have caught the Spanish side’s interest?
Angel Di Maria, Paris Saint-Germain, 29 years old
Ligue 1 – 29 appearances: 6 goals and 7 assists
Angel Di Maria, Photo Credit: Zee News
Angel Di Maria may not be the best option that Barca has but Neymar’s move to PSG has made him a bit expendable for the French side. Plus, his underwhelming performance last season could mean that he’s on his way out. So, a move to Barca could be good for the Argentinian who has a good relationship with countryman Lionel Messi. However, his stay could be temporary as the Spanish side will likely search for better options in the next transfer window.
Antoine Griezmann, Atlético Madrid, 26 years old
La Liga – 36 appearances: 16 goals and 8 assists
Antoine Griezmann, Photo Credit: Daily Express
Di Maria’s possible one-year rental might also be because of Barca’s interest in Antoine Griezmann. Unfortunately, they can’t get their hands on the French international due to a FIFA-imposed transfer ban on Atletico. If the Blaugrana can’t get their hands on a marquee signing, waiting for Griezmann would certainly become an option for them.
Eden Hazard, Chelsea, 26 years old
Premier League – 36 appearances: 16 goals and 5 assists
Eden Hazard, Photo Credit: Sky Sports
Rumors of Eden Hazard’s intention of leaving Stamford Bridge has been the talk since the end of last season and Spanish outlet Don Balon claims the Chelsea forward is still keen to go. Now that Hazard is back from an ankle injury, Barcelona has listed him as one of the replacements for Neymar while the Belgium international has begun contemplating on a possible move to Camp Nou according to Don Balon.
Julian Draxler, Paris Saint-Germain, 23 years old
Ligue 1 – 17 appearances: 4 goals and 1 assists
Julian Draxler, Photo Credit: The Sun
According to Express’ Bruce Archer, German publication Bild got a snap of Julian Draxler’s agent Roger Wittmann at Barcelona’s airport. The news spread like wildfire as it fueled speculations of Draxler’s move to the Catalan’s side. Coincidentally, Draxler’s preferred position is on the left wing but unfortunately, Neymar will now occupy that spot in PSG. So, this could be Barca’s shot at revenge while filling a spot that Neymar left.
Kylian Mbappe, AS Monaco, 18 years old
Ligue 1 – 29 appearances: 15 goals and 8 assists
Kylian Mbappe, Photo Credit: The Sun
Kylian Mbappe has been sought after by so many teams this year including the reigning champions of La Liga, Real Madrid. But that hasn’t stopped Manchester City and PSG’s desire to get the Monaco forward as well. Barca has also joined the mix so they could possibly get payback on PSG, hijack Real Madrid’s plans, and replace Neymar all at the same time. However, Telefoot and Sport claims the French forward is ready to sign with his hometown team after his father convinced him to play in Paris. With Nike lending PSG a hand on this blockbuster signing, Barca is set to miss out on this big fish.
Dele Alli, Tottenham Hotspur, 21 years old
Premier League – 37 appearances: 18 goals and 7 assists
Dele Alli, Photo Credit: Sky Sports
Barca has been in search of a central midfielder for some time, long before Neymar said goodbye to Camp Nou. Those intentions have led them to keep tabs on Dele Alli for over a year, perhaps to prepare for Andrés Iniesta’s decline in the near future rather than place him on the vacated left wing. Plus, the England ace hasn’t ruled out a departure as he seeks to fulfill his full potential away from Tottenham and White Hart Lane. Diario Gol went even further to report that the young midfielder would relish the chance to play with Messi. So, Barcelona might just be the place he’s looking for.
Marco Asensio, Real Madrid, 21 years old
La Liga – 23 appearances: 3 goals and 2 assists
Marco Asensio, Photo Credit: The Sun
In a surprising turn of events, Barca has now revealed that they will be targeting Los Blancos’ Marco Asensio as well according to Diario Gol. The report indicates that the Catalan giants would be willing to trigger the 21-year old’s €79.5 release clause before Real increases it to a whopping €350 million. The Blaugrana could also offer Neymar’s vacated starting role on the left wing, a position that the Champions League winners could not offer with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, and Isco in front of Real’s pecking order. Despite the young Spaniard’s willingness to stay at Bernabeu, a starting role may be enough to pry him off the top team in La Liga.
Ousmane Dembele, Borussia Dortmund, 20 years old
Bundesliga – 32 appearances: 6 goals and 12 assists
Ousmane Dembele, Photo Credit: The Sun
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Ousmane Dembele is one of the top prospects who caught Barca’s interest for some time now. After Neymar’s departure, he’s been quickly touted as the best player who could fill in the Brazilian’s shoes. Though he might look like a downgrade, it’s still important to note that the 20-year old still has a lot of room to improve and is five years younger than Neymar. However, Borussia Dortmund is demanding a €150 million king’s ransom for the young striker according to Marca. But Dembele’s desire to play with the Catalan giants and his reported personal agreement with the team should be a step in the right direction for Barca.
Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool, 25 years old
Premier League – 31 appearances: 13 goals and 7 assists
Philippe Coutinho, Photo Credit: Mirror
Another player who’s been on Barca’s radar is Philippe Coutinho; the Brazilian has been primed to replace Neymar as well despite his preference to play as an attacking midfielder instead of moving to the left wing. However, they could also do the move to replace the aging Iniesta in the foreseeable future. With Coutinho and Barca’s mutual interest in each other, Liverpool might have settle for the €100 million offer that they recently rejected from the Catalan giants rather than wait for their Brazilian playmaker to force the move instead.
Paulo Dybala, Juventus, 23 years old
Serie A – 31 appearances: 11 goals and 7 assists
Paulo Dybala, Photo Credit: ESPN FC
One low key prospect who’s popped up for the Blaugrana is Paulo Dybala. The 23-year old has been linked to Barca and Real Madrid but Juventus’ interest in Mateo Kovacic has put Los Blancos ahead of the Blaugrana. However, it’s not farfetched to assume a future Argentinian combo of Dybala and Messi at Camp Nou after the Bianconeri stamped a €120 million price tag on the striker while they also demanded for Barca’s Sergi Roberto.
Who do you want to see at Camp Nou?