Arsenal v Aston Villa - Premier League

After being hit with a long transfer ban that saw them miss out of last summer’s transfer window activities, Barcelona have not had the best options as far as their substitutes go. The La Liga champions are set to lose a handful of their players when the transfer market opens, and have been linked with some that could arrive  to Camp Nou for the new season. Goal reports that the defensive trio of Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano and Marc Bartra are set for exits, with Alves and Bartra having already agreed moves to Juventus and Dortmund respectively. Mascherano is on the verge of agreeing a move to Juve, but Barcelona are trying to talk him out of it and hoping he will spend one more season at the Camp Nou.

However, plans are on ground to have central back options come in as replacements for the duo. French defender, Umtiti and Las Palmas full back, Mauricio Lemos have emerged as summer targets. The duo will be affordable for the financially-strained club to pursue their signatures. The defence has been a key area the Catalans need to improve, and Enrique will definitely be making few additions to the side. PSG’s Marquinhos and Valencia’s Aymeric Laporte are also on the radar as far as arrivals are concerned, but with only €60 million to be spent in transfers, it remains unknown if they will be able to pursue their signatures.

Arsenal’s right back and former La Masia player, Hector Bellerin has been identified as Dani Alves replacement. The 21-year-old was named as PFA right-back of the season following an impressive campaign for the 2nd-placed EPL side. The Spain international put up a great display against Barcelona during the Champions League quarter finals, and he caught the eyes of the team he had once hoped to turn up for as a youngster. The failure of former Sevilla full-back, Aleix Vidal to impress has seen the need for a quality right-back come up the summer transfer wish list of La Blaugrana.

In midfield, Barcelona have eyes on the likes of Koke and Marco Verratti, while the duo of Denis Suarez and Alen Halilovic are set to make a return to the side. However, financial constraint might also see them unable to land the Atletico and PSG’s players. Arda Turan’s unavailability to hold down a starting spot might see him depart, and the club also wants to part ways with Sandro Ramirez after an unimpressive campaign during the recently-concluded season.

Upfront, the future of Neymar has been in doubt as the likes of Madrid and Manchester United are said to be keen to have the Brazil skipper. Barcelona want to balance the books financially, and with the deals of Messi and Suarez set to undergo renewals and improvements, letting go of the former Santos star forward could become necessary. Celta Vigo’s Nolito and Nice’s Ben Arfa amongst others has been identified as possible options to fill his shoes, and it could be a new Barcelona face next term.

Paul Koroma

I learned all about life with a ball at my feet. Soccer allows me to push the limitation of creativity and express myself without saying a word. Soccer is my addiction. I train. I play, and I repeat every single day.

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