Everything was rosy at Camp Nou just three weeks ago, but in the space of five matches, once again Barcelona seem like a club in decay, in spite of their summer spending.
However Joan Laporta’s answer to that is to pursue further deals in January. In spite of the fact that their likely exit from the Champions League and the accompanying financial blow, Laporta wants to give this Barcelona a shot in the arm after the World Cup.
Laporta is harking back to his first spell in charge of the club. Back in 2003, after appointing Frank Rijkaard, Barcelona were also struggling to put together results. After the signing of Edgar Davids on loan though, the Blaugrana kicked into form and finished narrowly second after an impressive run in the second half of the season. It was the beginning of two straight league titles and a Champions League triumph in 2006.
Now the President is looking for a similar effect this January. With Sergio Busquets struggling to cover the defence sufficiently, Laporta is looking for a pivot to up the ante.
Some of the options that have been mentioned are Chelsea’s Jorginho, Ruben Neves, Youri Tielemans and Ngolo Kante. All but Neves are out of contract and could be available for a cut price, while Neves could potentially arrive on a loan to buy basis, as per Mundo Deportivo.
Xavi Hernandez was most keen on Martin Zubimendi. The 23-year-old has recently renewed his deal with Real Sociedad until 2027 though and is unlikely to leave in January.
With the possible exception of Kante, who has now been struggling with injuries for months, none of those players mirror Davids in terms of drive, aggression and leadership. It may be that they improve the team but expecting them to have a similar impact to Davids looks difficult.