Sporting Director Deco was part of one of the most successful Barcelona sides in history, but he does not come from the same school of football as Xavi Hernandez, and was not moulded under Pep Guardiola, with the Manchester City coach turfing him out alongside Ronaldinho on his arrival. While Catalonia speaks of finding a long-term Sergio Busquets replacement, Deco is keen on them signing a slightly different profile of deeper midfielder.
While the likes of Pau Prim and Marc Bernal are considered good prospects, but MD write that Deco wants a more physical profile for the immediate future ‘with lungs’. They cite examples such as Edgar Davids or Yaya Toure, who have reinvigorated Barcelona’s midfield on their arrival, but in terms of a more specific profile, it is a player like Real Madrid star Aurelien Tchouameni that Deco wants to bring in, namely someone who is capable of covering the midfield defensively, but also getting into the opposition box at times.
Three players are mentioned with that in mind. Monaco midfielder Youssouf Fofana has played alongside and behind Tchouameni for France, while the club have positive scouting reports on Everton midfielder Amadou Onana too. Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimaraes has been linked to Barcelona in the past too, but would fit the bill for Deco.
Rather than a midfielder that seeks to set the tempo with the ball, it appears the ex-Porto man is more keen on his pivot being a player that can compensate for losing the ball, which would be a departure from what Busquets or even Gundogan offer.
The question is where Barcelona get the funds to pursue these players. Already their finances are stretched, and in Guimaraes’ case, price tags of €100m have been mentioned in the past. Both Fofana and Onana are 22 years of age, and two of the brightest midfielders in the game. Neither will be cheap, and if they are available, Barcelona will not be their only suitors.