Verratti, Bellerin, Coutinho... Barcelona's summer transfer plans revealed

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The Catalan club are looking to bring in five or six players for next season and here, Goal takes a look at their objectives for 2017-18


SPECIAL REPORT

The season is still not over, but there is movement in the transfer market and Barcelona are already planning for 2017-18. And even though the Catalan club have yet to finalise any deals for the coming campaign, the Blaugrana have clear objectives in place for the summer window.

Among those is a left-back to compete with Jordi Alba, although it looks like top target Theo Hernandez will join Real Madrid after the Atletico defender (who is on loan at Alaves) underwent a medical with Los Blancos on Monday.

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However, Barca are looking to strengthen their entire defence, with a new right-back also priority this summer as well as two centre-backs. The club will also be in the market for a midfielder and a right winger, so as many as six signings could arrive ahead of the 2017-18 season, although the initial budget is only around €60 to €70 million, so additional funds will need to be raised through player sales.

The aim is to rejuvenate a squad that has lost out at the quarter-final stage in each of the last two seasons in the Champions League. That means better back-up options and the defence is the area in most need of change. Jeremy Mathieu will be sold, while Javier Mascherano's future is uncertain and may depend on the new coach.

Barcelona transfer graphic

At left-back, Theo is no longer a possibility, so Barca will look at other options and if they are unable to identify a player better than what they have already, Lucas Digne will continue to provide back-up to Alba.

On the right, meanwhile, Hector Bellerin is the club's top target, although his arrival is very difficult because Arsenal do not want to sell. Barca have also considered Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich, but coach Carlo Ancelotti has said he will be staying at the Allianz Arena. Meanwhile, Southampton's Cedric Soares and Valencia's Joao Cancelo have been ruled out after failing to convince the technical staff.

N o Barca offer for Bellerin

Barca are also seeking to bring in two centre-backs this summer. Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos is a long-time target for the Catalan club, but  Goal  understands he is close to signing a new deal with PSG.

Real Sociedad's Inigo Martinez and Ajax defender Davinson Sanchez are the two most likely at the moment, while Palmeiras centre-back Yerry Mina is set to arrive in January 2018, so Barca could wait instead of signing two centre-backs in the summer.

HD Marco Verratti

Deulofeu Milan

Verratti wants 'top club' in Spain or Italy

Marco Verratti remains Barca's first choice in midfield, but the Italian international is an impossible dream at this stage as PSG have no intention of selling their prized asset. However, the player's agent is set to meet with the French outfit to discuss his future once the season is over.

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Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho is an alternative, along with Monaco's Bernardo Silva, and the latter could be a more viable option if the Brazilian decides to stay at Anfield, where he signed a new long-term contract at the end of January.

Further forward, Barca's priority is to finalise a new contract for Lionel Messi, although the switch to 3-4-3 earlier this season highlighted the need for a better player on the right wing if the Argentine is utilised in a deeper role and the Catalan club want to bring back Gerard Deulofeu. There is a buy-back option in place for the Spanish international, currently on loan at AC Milan, but he will have the last word on his future.

None of the deals will be easy and there is plenty of work ahead for the Barca board and technical secretary Robert Fernandez, who still needs to sign a new coach to replace Luis Enrique for 2017-18. So important decisions lie ahead and after a disappointing summer of recruitment last time around, Barca must get it right this time.

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