The $260 million has been received. Neymar is officially out of Barcelona and although the player gets majority of the attention, whats next for Barcelona?
With less then a month left in the summer transfer window, Barca need to move quickly to maximize the money received for Neymar. A replacement on the left wing is obviously being talked about but is it really their biggest hole?
Players like Messi, Ronaldinho, Neymar, Suarez, etc have always gotten the attention but their world class midfield has always been over looked. Xavi and Fabregas are long gone and Iniesta is starting to show signs of slowing down. Busquets is still the starting CDM but what else do they really have? Rakitic is a very solid player but nothing really jumps off the page about him. Youngsters Rafinha, Andre Gomes, Sergi Roberto are nice pieces but does anyone really expect them to become top players at their positions? I definietly don't think so. Lets look into some options to strengthen Barcas once great midfield again.
Marcos Verratti - This is the dream come true for Barca fans. Identical style to Iniesta, Verratti could very well be the heir to the Spaniard. The problem? The team Neymar just left Barca for owns him. It is highly doubtful Paris wants to lose a top 3 player from their squad last year after signing Neymar and Dani Alves this summer. They want to compete for the Champions League Trophy and to do that you need to keep your teams best players. Anything can happen but this signing is a long shot.
Thiago - The biggest Barca failure in recent memories. Letting Thiago go was a huge mistake. Yes Xavi and Iniesta were still playing at a world class level but when you have a talent like Thiago, you find playing time for him. It is going to be tough to pry him away from Bayern but definitely doable. Bayern is one of the most stacked clubs in the world and they actually added a couple new pieces to their midfield. Would a Paul Pogba esque offer tempt Bayern into selling Thiago back to Barca? I think so. Will Barca make that offer? For their sake, I hope so.
Isco - Now this would get interesting. Would Madrid sell to Barca, their direct rival? Highly doubtful but this is a list of options for Barca to go after. First, Barca would need to convince the player to leave his boyhood club for a FOR SURE starting spot at Barcelona. Then Barca would probably need to offer that same type of Pogba deal just to get him. Is Isco worth THAT much? Most likely not but desperate times call for desperate measures. With all that being said, the backlash Figo received from Barca fans after being sold to Madrid was so great that we may not see a direct sale like that again for a while.
Again, while a left wing player is the "sexy" option for Barcelona after the departure of Neymar, a midfielder to replace the already gone Xavi and aging Iniesta is more important. How much is Barca willing to spend on the midfield and is there enough time to address all their needs? We will see but this crazy transfer window doesn't look to be slowing down.