With Liverpool resolute in holding onto star man Phillipe Coutinho, and the Antoine Griezmann having signed a new contract in June, taking his release clause up to a whopping £170m, Barcelona may have to look to different targets to find that one marquee player they’ve been wanting to bring in.
Barcelona are slowly moving away from their traditional 4-3-3 formation, and that opens up for more potential players to bring it to strengthen their already impressive squad.
Here’s seven players they could look to bring in instead of reported targets Coutinho and Griezmann…
7. Jean Michaël Seri
Current Club: OGC Nice
Jean Seri was heavily linked with Barcelona in the summer, with reports that he was high up on Barca’s list of Neymar replacements.
The Ivorian midfielder could sit nicely in between or in front of Iniesta and Rakitic to add the same creative ingenuity that Coutinho would, and he’d cost nowhere near as much.
6. Thiago Alcantara
Current Club: Bayern Munich
Former Barcelona midfielder Thiago could make a sensational return to the club after leaving in 2013 and becoming a key player in the Bayern Munich squad.
But with the 26-year-old already hinting at a potential return home, reuniting with former teammates, including younger brother Rafinha, could become reality in the not too distant future.
Thiago’s versatility could be a useful weapon to have in the arsenal for Barça, with the uncertainty around their preferred formation requiring multi-talented players.
5. Lorenzo Insigne
Current Club: Napoli
The 26-year-old Italian has emerged onto the radar of the world’s elite, playing alongside Marek Hamsik and Dries Mertens to become a prolific and versatile attacking midfielder for the Serie A league leaders.
Having scored 43 goals in 179 appearances for Napoli, ‘Lorenzo il Magnifico’ could put his speed to good use in a newly formed Barcelona lineup, playing as an attacking midfielder or even a forward should Barca retain their 4-3-3 mentality.
4. Leon Goretzka
Current Club: Schalke 04
This German international is currently being lined up as Liverpool’s replacement for Emre Can. However, with Barcelona needing young talent in midfield as well as attack, Goretzka could fit in brilliantly.
Great ball control, able to win aerial challenges in the middle of the park and an eye for goal would mean that, after maybe a year or so of experience, Goretzka could fit nicely into a new-look Barcelona midfield, spearheading a diamond or sitting back in a flat 4-4-2.
3. Eden Hazard
Current Club: Chelsea
When has Eden Hazard not been linked with Barcelona in recent years? The Chelsea star man has gone from strength to strength at Chelsea and (whisper it) in all likelihood, there may come a time when he will want to move to new pastures.
Hazard would work well in Barca’s traditional 4-3-3 formation, playing up on the left alongside Messi and Suarez. Whilst he could shift down into a central attacking role in midfield, his talents are much better suited to the wing.
2. Dele Alli
Current Club: Tottenham Hotspur
The player that alongside Harry Kane has made Tottenham into the attacking force that they are.
With a free-roaming midfielder at the top of a midfield four, Barcelona could mix up their attacking scenarios. Dele Alli’s ability to move forward would allow Leo Messi to retain his ‘false nine’ role in attack or even move to the wing.
Barcelona could definitely go all out to sign Alli, but Tottenham would charge a pretty penny for his services.
1. Nabil Fekir
Current Club: Olympique Lyonnais
This lad fits the stereotypical player model for Barcelona: quick, technically gifted and a great passer.
French international Nabil Fekir is still only 24, which gives him room to be moulded into whatever Barcelona’s formation ends up as next season.
He has already shown that he can play as either an attacking midfielder or a striker, and there will probably be another position that he Barcelona coaching start can coax out of him.