This summer promises to be an interesting one for Barcelona. Outgoings will need to be prioritised ahead of incomings, with club officials looking to drastically reduce the wage bill in order to comply with La Liga regulations.
High earners could be prioritised for exits, and one of those could be Jordi Alba. The veteran has been at Barcelona since 2014, when he joined from Valencia, and has enjoyed a successful time at the club.
However, having been a regular starter for much of his time in Catalonia, Alba has seen his first team starts and minutes reduce this campaign following the emergence of Alejandro Balde. The teenager has been exceptional this season, and as a younger player on less wages compared to Alba, he is likely to be prioritised over the coming seasons.
Alba has admitted that he is unhappy over his lack of minutes this season, and Barcelona may use this to move him on this summer. His contract at the club expires next summer, and club officials may use the opportunity to cash in, and in turn get a huge earner off their books.
However, that could leave Xavi Hernandez short at left back, with Balde and Marcos Alonso, although the latter has appeared more as a central defender since joining from Chelsea last summer. Alonso has already signed a one-year extension at the club, which could be another reason for Alba to be moved on.
However, Barcelona would likely prefer to have a better option to rotate Balde, as he is still only 19. That player could be Alex Grimaldo, who has been in great form for Benfica for several seasons. The 27-year-old moved to the Portuguese giants from Barca in 2016, having been a product of the La Masia academy, and Fichajes have linked him with a return to Catalonia..
Grimaldo’s contract at Benfica expires this summer, and he may choose to leave in search of a new challenge. He choose opt to return to Barcelona as a replacement for Alba, although he would likely not be a regular starter with Balde seemingly first choice.
From a financial perspective for Barcelona, Grimaldo would likely be on a smaller wage that Alba, and being six years younger, could likely be trusted more to play most regularly. With no transfer fee required, it could be a shrewd move for the Blaugrana, providing that the player is okay with being a rotation option.
The free agent market will be invaluable for Barcelona, as they look to improve the cash situation at the club. Big earners should be moved on if they do not hold down a regular starter spot, and with Alba falling into the mould, his sale should at least be considered.
As a replacement, Grimaldo is an excellent choice, and would be a wise choice financially. Like Balde, he is an attacking fullback, and would be a solid addition to the Barcelona squad, in a time when incomings may be difficult to come by.