Transfer Focus: What FC Barcelona need to do in the January transfer window

With the January transfer window quickly approaching, we take a look at the business that may be conducted by some of the top clubs in Europe. Here's a look at FC Barcelona..

This Season's Stats
                  La Liga: 1st
Champions League: Round of 16
Supercopa: Runners-Up
Copa Del Rey: Round of 16
Games: 28
Won: 24
Lost: 2
Drawn: 2
GF: 80
GA: 29
GF ratio: 3.75
GA ratio: 1.36

Their Season So Far

The club has been hit due to Tito Vilanova's illness

There were a lot of questions when Pep Guardiola left Barcelona at the start of the season, that whether Tito Vilanova is the right man to take the club forward but the Spanish manager has calmly answered all his critics after guiding Barcelona unbeaten in the league half way through the season. The club is cruising in the league 9 points clear of second place Atletico Madrid and 16 points clear of rivals Real Madrid. It's the best ever start made by Barcelona taking 49 points out of a possible 51. The club is through to the next round of the Champions League as well even though they suffered a shock defeat to Celtic.

Lionel Messi has set new standards after breaking Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a year, ending his 2012 with 91 goals. The club has also welcomed back David Villa and Eric Abidal although the latter is yet to play.

Despite injury struggles, off field distractions and defensive issues, the club has managed to keep winning and getting results something other La Liga clubs have failed. Halfway through the season and Barcelona almost have one hand on the league title.

What They Need

The club needs to find a replacement for Puyol

No matter how great a club, there is always room for some improvement. Injuries and defensive struggles this season has seen Barcelona give away unwanted goals.

The club looks perfect in the midfield with the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets alongwith Xavi Hernandez who signed a contract extension. Messi has continued his extraordinary form althouh the club lacks an option in case the Argentine gets injured. With David Villa rumoured to leave, Barcelona can make do with another striker. Though the club has Pedro and Alexis Sanchez in the squad, both of them are not natural strikers and are often delployed wide.

The Blaugrana have looked suspect at the back. Although Carles Puyol has been handed over a new deal, the Spaniard is past his prime because of which the club has to rely on Javier Mascherano to play the centre- back role. Eric Abidal's struggle finally looks to come to an end but there are question marks over his return any time soon and with Dani Alves also being linked with a move away from Camp Nou, the club might look for reinforcements in the full back position.

Prime Targets

Thibaut Courtois

A perfect replacement for Valdes

Thibaut Courtois has been touted by many as the best young goalkeeper in the world today. The Belgian custodian beat the likes of Iker Casillas and Victor Valdes as the holder of most clean sheets last season.

Barcelona have struggled a lot with Victor Valdes who has a very poor track record when it comes to being errorneous. Probably the only place in the field where Barcelona have not found an answer to over the past few years.

The Belgian youngster is on-loan from Chelsea for the second year running and has continued to be an important member for Atletico Madrid.

Who Could Leave

Ever since his horrific tibia injury back in the Club World Cup last season, things have been really hard for David Villa to return into the starting XI of the Catalans. The Spaniard has only started 5 games this season.

Villa has been linked with a number of European clubs including the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea but it seems, Barcelona will only let him go on a loan deal.

Who do you think Barcelona should sign? Leave your comments below or discuss with the writer on Twitter @ShikharrC.

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