Barcelona have made sizable business in the transfer market with the arrivals of Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong, Neo, and Emerson. However, manager Ernesto Valverde says that the club are still looking to strengthen the squad before the end of the window. Strangely, Neymar may not be the next arrival at the Camp Nou, as Barcelona are actively looking to add to the left back positions.
Valverde says that Barcelona remain active in the market and he expects players to arrive until the window closes on September 2. According to Goal, Valverde said:
“It is true that we had some problems on the left side [of defence] and it is possible that somebody may arrive. But we are open to the market until the last day and we will see what happens.”
Jordi Alba is the first choice left-back for Barcelona and this status is unlikely to change for the 2019-20 campaign. However, the Catalan outfit are keen to provide a support for the 30-year-old, who featured in 54 games last season.
It is no secret that Barcelona are actively trying to bring back Neymar from Paris St Germain. However, this would be the second extravagant purchase for the club – if it were to happen – after the club already splashed out £108 million on Griezmann. Thomas Vermaelen’s departure to Vissel Kobe was already expected with the 33-year-old’s contract coming to an end. However, there is not a substantial strength in the squad to cope with a long-term injury for key players like Alba.
Barcelona have already been in advanced negotiations with Real Betis for the transfer of Junior Firpo. The Dominican defender is not the first choice for Barcelona, as the club tried to bring in Bayern Munich’s David Alaba. However, the vast outlay on Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong appears to have tightened the strings for Josep Maria Bartomeu. Firpo had an excellent campaign with the Andalusians and he was even part of the Betis team that even managed a 4-3 win at the Camp Nou last season.
Philip Max has been placed as a backup if Barcelona failed to agree terms with Real Betis. The priority is for Firpo, as Max would take time to adapt coming from the Bundesliga. Betis are demanding around €30 million for the 22-year-old, who has been at the club since 2014. Barcelona, meanwhile, are only ready to spend around €20 million for the player, who has a contract with Betis until 2023. The lengthy contract places the Andalusians in a strong position.
Betis, though, have already brought in Pedraza from Villarreal in anticipation of Firpo’s exit. Furthermore, manager Rubi is also looking to bring Borja Iglesias, who has a €28 million release clause, from Espanyol.
Since Real Betis and Barca want to make last-minute businesses in the market, it is likely that an agreement would be reached for the transfer of Firpo.
Barcelona have been embroiled in a number of transfer-related issues this summer. Atletico are actively trying to revisit Griezmann’s move to Barcelona while no progress has been made with the desire to bring Neymar from PSG. Liverpool have also ended their pursuit of Philippe Coutinho and this could potentially leave Valverde with an embarrassment of riches going forward.