5 players Barcelona should sign with the £198m they received from PSG for Neymar


Neymar’s huge 222-million-euro move to Paris Saint-Germain has rocked the footballing world. The price tag was jaw dropping, but not quite to the same level as well as the sheer fact that a young player, one yet to hit his sporting peak, sees his future away from one of the biggest and most iconic clubs in the game,

Barcelona are not in the strongest of bargaining positions, given that Neymar’s mammoth release clause was very much public and has been well documented. Immediately, any negotiations with clubs will have taken a considerable step up in price, especially with Ernesto Valverde not having time on his side to put together a settled squad before their Spanish Super Cup clash against Real Madrid.

Barca can get some quality in the door before the end of the month, but they will likely be held to ransom. Who might realistically be on the club’s radar, as they look to reinvest the Neymar money as wisely as they can?

 

Philippe Coutinho



This may not be a direct replacement for Neymar, but rather a versatile option that could cover the immediate absence on the left wing and also the impending retirement of Andres Iniesta. Comfortable both as a deep-lying presence in midfield, as well as cutting in off the left flank to threaten with his right foot, the Brazil international would definitely allow for some flexibility in both Ernesto Valverde’s system and his use of the Liverpool star.

As Neymar departed with ambitions of becoming the key protagonist of an ambitious project, however, it remains to be seen whether Coutinho would be willing to trade being one of Jurgen Klopp’s crowning jewels for a role in Lionel Messi’s supporting cast. The 25-year-old has the technical ability, eye for a pass and the confidence in his own ability to be a star at a huge club, but expectations would be exceptionally high regarding Coutinho bridging the gap set to be left by two vital components of the Luis Enrique era.

 

Ousmane Dembele


Neymar’s departure ensures that Barcelona, for now, will be lacking an electric presence down the left-hand side of their attack. Despite Jordi Alba often breaking beyond the Brazilian, direct running from the former Santos youngster became a fixture in Luis Enrique’s counter-attacks, with his improving end product over the last few years ensuring that his final year at Camp Nou was his best yet.

Dembele has flashes of Neymar’s profile, with the Frenchman’s direct approach, pace and skill bound to excite Blaugrana fans. He would be comfortable on either flank, with the endeavour and guile required to make things happen with a little bit of magic. In terms of picking out a player with the potential to eventually be a direct replacement for Neymar, there look to be few better on the market, but it remains to be seen whether the more organised stylings of Valverde may be better coupled with some players that categorise function over flavour.

 

Jean Michael Seri

 

Two years at Nice have done Jean Michael Seri the world of good, with his reputation hitting unfounded levels since a switch from Portugal. Last season, Barca found themselves a little short in central midfield. Not in terms of numbers, necessarily, but of a mix of roles and profiles in the centre of the park. Iniesta is often asked to be the creative presence, even if he could only contribute during the last 30 minutes of games, and Seri would lighten this burden.

Having idolised Xavi while maturing as a player, Seri could be an important part of the midfield jigsaw for Barcelona. Sergio Busquets can keep things simple in a deep-lying role, but higher upfield there is sometimes the lack of a busy, tidy presence to link the midfield three to Barca’s usual attacking trio. The 26-year-old is well rounded, has a good attitude towards the game and looks to be the perfect skeleton key for a balanced midfield for Valverde.

 

Inigo Martinez



After yet another solid season at centre back for Real Sociedad, one which saw Eusebio get his side into the Europa League with a quite shallow squad, Inigo Martinez was key and is certainly ready to take the jump to the next level. Despite not being the most physically imposing central defender, Samuel Umtiti showed in his debut campaign that height is not always required to be an uncompromising and reliable presence at the heart of Barca’s defence.

Comfortable on the ball and a leader, Inigo Martinez would certainly bring a lot of positive attributes to the table that Barcelona perhaps lacked in terms of depth at centre back in 2016/2017. Umtiti and Gerard Pique were very much the go-to partnership, with the likes of Javier Mascherano and Jeremy Mathieu never truly convincing. Throwing young Marlon Santos into the role of third-choice centre back is perhaps too much too soon, making this deal for the Real Sociedad star one that certainly makes a great deal of sense with a long and congested calendar ahead.

 

Paulo Dybala

As Juventus eased to the Serie A title and battled their way to the Champions League final last season, the footballing world got to see the quality that Paulo Dybala houses in his left boot along the way. Armed with both an excellent range of passing, as well as the technical ability to go on his own personal endeavours forward, the Argentina international would be a dangerous presence in a fluid front three.

Former Barcelona right back Dani Alves has described Dybala’s likenesses to Lionel Messi, which is perhaps the highest compliment one can be paid in the modern game. Close control, set-piece specialism, as well as the ability to finish smartly from distance and inside the box, it is tough to think of a more well-rounded and complete forward to add some much-needed quality to Barcelona’s front three. Even before Neymar’s departure, the club needed an additional player that could chip in from either or left or centrally, and that want has since turned into a need.