In the 2013/2014 season, F.C. Barcelona finished all competitions without a trophy. Some fans questioned the ex-manager of Barcelona, Tata Martino. Others felt the players were simply not trying. Many reasons (or excuses) can be made on the Blaugrana’s shortcomings. But one thing we all agree on is that the defense was nothing less than appalling. The people of Catalunya have been begging for a center-back for a couple of years.
According to SB Nation’s Barca Blaugranas, the long wait has ended. After impressing in the 2014 World Cup, the Belgian captain, Jan Vertonghen, is rumored to have received offers from multiple clubs including Barcelona. Sources say that Barcelona inquired Tottenham Hotspurs and are willing to pay the 22 million euro buyout clause.
With the retirement of Carles Puyol– arguably the best captain in Barcelona’s history– the Catalans have holes in the defense to fill. The word makeshift has become more of a title than a description for those players pretending to be center-backs (such as Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets). The new Barca manager, Luis Enrique, will sure not want to place Mascherano in the back four due to the tremendous form he is having with Argentina at defensive midfielder. Who could have guessed the guy would perform highly in a position he has played all his life?
If the Spanish giants complete the signing of Vertonghen, the squad will improve a great deal at the back four. I rate the signing a 9 out of 10 since the only two center-backs we have are Gerard Pique and Marc Bartra. Pique is in terrible form, while Bartra still needs more experience at top competition.
Vertonghen is a conservative center-back that will not risk leaving the back vulnerable to counter-attacks. The days of Bale overrunning our dreams in the Copa del Rey will be over! His composure and positioning justifies Enrique’s wish to bring the Belgian to Spain. 22 million euros is a decent price for the international center-back.
However, the Club will only sign the 27-year old if they cannot acquire Marquinhos from Paris Saint-Germain. Barcelona have tried to sign the young Brazilian, but PSG are unwilling to sell the player unless the French club find a replacement beforehand. Therefore, I believe there is a 70% chance of the transfer happening. I find it difficult imagining PSG purchasing a replacement within a week; Barcelona must act quickly.
SB Nation is relatively reliable with its news in sports, I rate the transfer rumor strength a 7 out of 10. The Catalan club need a center-back. At this point, Barca fans will be happy with either Marquinhos or Vertonghen. We just do not want to live another season of makeshift defenders.