It is clear from this season that Barcelona have some work to do strengthening the squad. The defensive side, especially, is in need of an overhaul, with Puyol now 34-years old and Abidal set to retire or move into coaching. There are young defenders like Bartra, while Alex Song and Adriano can play in central defence if necessary, but one or two top class defenders are needed to strengthen the spine of the team and avoid any repeat of the Champions League debacle against Bayern Munich.
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It is becoming clear that the transfer of Neymar to Barcelona is going to be far from simple. Representatives from the Nou Camp are in Brazil to meet with representatives of the striker and his club Santos, but their initial terms have been rejected, according to the Santos vice-president Odilio Rodrigues.
“There is no agreement for Neymar, there are talks. I met Rosell and Raul Snhelli last week,” Rodrigues explained on Radio A Xarxa.
“We had a very frank conversation. Talks need to continue because the offer was not good enough.
“We know Real Madrid will make an offer too.
As the transfer market draws ever closer, the number of stories, rumours and downright speculation will continue to grow. There are rebuilding plans at a number of big clubs around Europe, including Real Madrid from La Liga, PSG and Monaco in France and Chelsea, Manchester United and City in the English Premier League.
Barcelona are believed to be on the lookout for some new talent, but there will be some old faces on their way out of the Nou Camp as well. Three mentioned in the papers today are the striker David Villa, the keeper Victor Valdes and the right back Dani Alves.
There have been wild speculations in the Spanish press this week around a player who was previously believed to have agreed a deal with Barcelona. The young Brazilian star Neymar is one of the hottest properties in the sport and would interest any club in the world, but it was thought that Barca had sealed the deal. The Catalan club have, reportedly, already made a down payment to Santos and the player although the transfer was not expected to happen.
Barcelona are looking to make quite a few changes this summer in a bid to freshen up the team in the aftermath of the Chempions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich. The most obvious area that needs strengthening is the defence, but there will probably be players coming and going all over the pitch.
With David Villa probably on his way out of the Nou Camp this summer, Barca definitely need some more attacking threat, because there is too much reliance on Lionel Messi. Nobody really gave a second thought to the Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney, but in the wake of Alex Ferguson announcing his retirement, it has emerged that Rooney wants to move on as well.
By beating Real Betis on Sunday, Barcelona went some way to getting over the Champions League disappointment against Bayern Munich. The win also put them on the brink of clinching the Spanish Primera Liga title for the 22nd time and the fourth time in five years. In fact, Barca could win it this week without playing, if Real Madrid fail to beat Malaga at the Bernabeu tomorrow.
After Barcelona moved inexorably towards a 22nd Spanish title with a narrow victory over Levante on Saturday, all eyes turn to Germany. The Barcelona players are already in Munich for their game against Bayern tomorrow and it appears that the best player on the planet, Lionel Messi, is fit and ready to lead the Barca attack.
The Argentinean striker picked up a hamstring problem in the first leg of the quarter-finals against Paris Saint-Germain and the club have had him wrapped in cotton wool ever since. He only came on as a substitute in the second leg after PSG scored and Barca were faced with an early exit. Even though he was not fully fit and didn’t score himself, his presence made the team much more dangerous.
It seems like not every player wants to play for Barcelona. It is generally assumed that if Barca set their sights on a player, then it is just a matter of time and money before they arrive at the Camp Nou. They also say that you have to be a little crazy to be a goalkeeper, so perhaps it is no surprise that the only two players who have turned the club down recently have been keepers.