Barcelona’s transfer resources have not been exhausted by the €60 million they paid for Brazil forward Neymar, a club spokesman said on Tuesday.
Neymar will line up alongside World Player of the Year Lionel Messi in a formidable forward line for the Spanish champions but they probably need to strengthen a defence that was worryingly porous last season. Barca conceded 40 goals in 38 league matches last season, 11 more than the previous campaign.
“Barca can afford all the transfers the technical staff deem necessary, as has always been the case,” Toni Freixa, spokesman for the club’s board of directors, told a news conference.
“But we cannot of course tell the market how much we are prepared to spend.”
Barcelona have needed a new center half for at least three seasons now as the club’s 35-year-old captain Carles Puyol continues to break down with injuries. Barca have tried to plug in Javier Mascherano, a converted midfielder, alongside Gerard Pique, and that works against the average side. But as Bayern Munich pointed out in the Champions League, at the top level that pairing is no longer good enough.
While Tito Vilanova seems reluctant to promote the Spanish Under-21 international Marc Bartra, to the first team, the Spanish champions have been linked with several top defenders this summer, including Neymar’s Brazil team-mate Thiago Silva. The challenge for Barcelona will be getting Paris St-Germain to sell, as they certainly don’t need the cash.
Despite Toni Freixa’s comments though, many observers think that Barcelona will have to sell before they can make another large buy this season. Two players linked with moves to England are David Villa and Thiago Alcântara, who are linked with Spurs and Man United respectively. Combined they will bring Barcelona in around €30m, which should be enough to land a top quality center-half.