Football Features

Who could Barcelona sign by deadline day? Dream, realistic, wildcard transfer options

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 10:55, 27 January 2022


With just a few days of the January transfer window left, Barcelona are in need of some reinforcements.

The Blaugrana are stuck in the middle of a transition season and are fighting to qualify for next season’s Champions League (having been eliminated from this season’s edition in the group stage). They are progressing under new coach Xavi, but as their most recent game against Alavés made plain, Barcelona need reinforcements post-haste.


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The game highlighted two clear areas of need for Barcelona. Nothing new, but it was a firm reinforcement of the clear lack of a genuine gamechanging forward. Ferran Torres was bright on the right, but because Abde was struggling so much on the left they had to swap over, which nullified what Ferran was doing and gave Abde better positions.

Except Abde is nowhere near the required quality for Barcelona, and proceeded to waste every single chance playing on the right gave him as Ferran struggled to get involved on the left. Meanwhile, right at the end of the game Ferran moved back to the right and picked up the game-winning assist after a deliciously well-timed run and instant cross for Frenkie de Jong to score.

Of course, all the focus only fell on the wingers because there was nothing going on in the middle. Many have highlighted Barcelona’s need for a striker, and that was painfully obvious against Alaves. Luuk de Jong has been scoring well at the head of attack, but his limited movement due to age and (a lack of) speed really slows Barcelona’s attack down.

Barcelona not only need goals, but they need movement.

The other transfer need is simply a left-back. While Sergino Dest proved against Alavés that he is a capable understudy for Dani Alves, there is no such relief for Jordi Alba who has to play every single minute, which for a sprinter over the age of 30 is asking for hamstring trouble.


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Left-Back

These radars are showing a player’s stats per-90 minutes compared to Jordi Alba, where the outer and most inner boundaries represent the top and bottom 5% figures of the wider footballing population in all league games since 2019/20.

Dream: José Gaya

When you have to replace Jordi Alba, why not get the man that Valencia used to replace him back when he originally moved to Barcelona in 2012? José Gaya is a sensational left-back, playing with similar style to Alba so he should slot into the side nicely although obviously when you compare production he’s way off, but that’s because he plays for Valencia, not Barcelona. Gaya has also got a bit more mental strength and leadership qualities, wearing the captain’s armband for Valencia as he does.

Gaya’s contract is expiring in the summer, but this move has to go down as a dream because he’s Valencia’s captain! They are going to try and renew his contract, at which point any hopes of picking up for a reasonable price vanish.

Realistic: Nicolas Tagliafico

Barcelona are allegedly favourites to snag Ajax right-back Noussair Mazraoui in the summer when he leaves for free. Left-back Nicolas Tagliafico’s contract expires a year later in 2023, but rumour has it that Ajax are happy for him to move on in January. This may come as a surprise given Tagliafico’s quality and comfort playing in a ball dominant side. He’s a quality wing-back who loves a tackle too.

While Barcelona would prefer a loan, Ajax would allegedly like a permanent deal. Either way the Argentine seems an attainable signing to give crucial competition and depth at left-back, forcing Jordi Alba to play at his best or lose his spot.

Wildcard: Alex Grimaldo

Another wing-back whose contract expires in 2023 is Alex Grimaldo. A talented Spanish left-back who has been peforming well for Benfica for years now. Grimaldo is a very bright attacking talent with sublime crossing ability, especially from set-pieces, and could give the Blaugrana fun new dimension.

Moreover? He’s ex-La Masia, so would fit into the system with ease. This move is a wildcard, of course, because Benfica are still in the Champions League and would be reluctant to part with such a talent and important player as Grimaldo in January.


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Forward

These radars are showing a player’s stats per-90 minutes compared to Memphis Depay, where the outer and most inner boundaries represent the top and bottom 5% figures of the wider footballing population in all league games since 2019/20.

Dream: Erling Haaland

When you dream, dream big. There are two players who seemed destined to inherit the footballing world: Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland. And while Mbappé seems destined to end up at Real Madrid, Haaland’s future is as yet undecided.

The rumours have been swirling that Barcelona president Joan Laporta is desperate to make Haaland his big marquee signing, and his close relationship with Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola makes the move not as outlandish as Barcelona’s financial struggles would indicate.

In terms of quality, Haaland obviously blows Memphis out of the water when it comes to goalscoring and pressing, and while he doesn’t have the chance creation that the Dutchman does, he would bring the staggering goal power the Barcelona front-line desperately needs.

Realistic: Alvaro Morata

Haaland is a pure dream signing, especially for January. Being more realistic, a shorter-term deal, perhaps on loan, would be the quickest and most logical way to solve Barcelona’s striker problem. Enter Alvaro Morata.

The Spanish striker is currently on loan at Juventus, and with the Bianconeri recently getting Dusan Vlahovic, the Atlético Madrid man will be available. Of course whether or not Atleti will want to hand the Blaugrana a potentially key signing remains to be seen.

That is the only hurdle, however, because Morata would be a fantastic no. 9 for Barcelona. He has the movement and link play Memphis provides with sharper finishing in general and the aerial power of Luuk de Jong. He struggles in crunch situations, but where Barcelona are only trying to finish top four, Morata is kind of perfect.

Wildcard: Patrik Schick

Thinking outside of the box, Barcelona could look for a striker that isn’t quite as high profile as Haaland but would present a more consistent goal power than Morata. This is where Patrik Schick comes in; the Czech striker has been steadily improving over the last few years and has really hit his stride this season at Bayer Leverkusen.

Schick isn’t the creator or dribbler that Memphis is, but he’s much more potent in front of goal and his aerial ability would really help Barcelona when the are in desperation mode (or even if they just want to mix-up their approach).

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