Contrary to what most Barcelona fans think, it seems like Joan Laporta and Ronald Koeman do want to go for an additional midfielder in the summer to reinforce the middle of the park.
Georginio Wijnaldum was a locked-in operation till Paris Saint-Germain swooped in like LeBron James in the last minute, blocking the move, handing him more than double of what he was going to earn at Barça.
Life does not stop at Wijnaldum, though. If reports from TV3 (h/t Mundo Deportivo) are to believed, the Catalan giants have already cherry-picked the three alternatives that could be brought to the club.
Making up that inventory are Napoli’s Fabian Ruiz, Real Sociedad’s Mikel Merino, and Ajax’s Ryan Gravenberch.
The similarities these players and Wijnaldum is clear: a superb mix of physique and skill on the ball.
The idea of going for the midfielder may not seem as far-fetched as it’s being made out to be, in fact. All three of Sergio Busquets (depends on COVID recovery), Pedri, and Frenkie de Jong are drafted to play the European Championship in the summer and will be thrown into the mix without much rest.
Outside these three, Riqui Puig and Ilaix Moriba are diamonds in the rough, and far from ready for regular first-team action. Miralem Pjanic seems to be on his way out soon while the future of Philippe Coutinho and Carles Alena is even bleaker.
What remains to be seen is if Koeman has the skill-set required to rotate a six-piece midfield, all while giving the youngsters ample game time.