With the completed transfer of James Rodriguez to rival Real Madrid, the pressure mounts on Luis Enrique and FC Barcelona to fill out the side to match the talent onslaught of Real. With Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez in the fold, Enrique must nail down target Juan Cuadrado to effectively compete with Los Blancos. Scoring will not be a problem if Barca can control the ball and deliver it to the super star triumvirate within striking distance. The transfer of Colombian FIFA World Cup assist leader Cuadrado is necessary to assure the multi-talented trio receive their share of scoring opportunities.
Published transfer rumors place Manchester United in the hunt for Cuadrado as well. Beginning the transfer window with £150 to £220 available to spend to bolster the side, the signings of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera have not even used up half of the available resources. The Old Trafford club has reportedly offered £27.7 million (€35 million) to Fiorentina to obtain Cuadrado and have the room to up the ante if they wish. Most accounts have said that Florentina will hold out for full value for Cuadrado, which is likely in the €40 million range. With pressure mounting to respond to Real’s transfer moves, FC Barcelona will need to at least match United to secure Cuadrado’s services at Camp Nou.
In order to bolster the backline, Barca reportedly have their eyes on Morquinhos of Paris Saint-Germain. The situation with Morquinhos is complicated by PSG’s apparent reluctance to part ways with the 20-year-old Brazilian and his poor performance so far in pre-season play. PSG has been a sieve defensively as they have allowed seven goals in the last two games. While PSG’s defensive shortcomings cannot be laid solely at the feet of Morquinhos, the possibility of Barca needing to overpay to secure his services due to PSG’s reluctance to part with him should give Enrique pause as he decides how to proceed.
FC Barcelona could again face competition with Manchester United if they turn their attention to Mats Hummels as an alternative. The Borussia Dortmund defender is said to be on the move and the Red Devils reportedly have a strong interest. Barca needs to plug the hole left by the retirement of Carles Puyol and Hummels is a great fit in the center. Given United’s war chest and apparent desire for Hummels, securing his services will be difficult for Enrique and Barcelona. Other possible targets to fill the Puyol void include Daley Blind of Ajax and Jan Vertoughen of Tottenham. With the offensive arsenal of Real Madrid now including Cristian Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez, Enrique needs to make an immediate defensive move to remain competitive.
FC Barcelona likely has some transfer moves yet to be made as the pressure mounts to fill out the side. Pulling in Cuadrado would offer creativity and stabilization in the attack and adding another defender is paramount. Team President Josep Bartomeu may have to unloosen the purse strings quite a bit to add the final pieces to the roster puzzle.
Commentary by William Costolo