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Barcelona has become the butt of ridicule over the past two years. Since losing the La Liga title in 2020, the entire fracas that followed involving Lionel Messi, erstwhile president Josip Bartomeu and the sale of Luis Suarez has been well documented. Even winning the Copa del Rey has done little to inspire confidence in this team, especially after limping out of the title race this season as well.Depay is rumoured to join Barcelona but his future is still uncertain as Barcelona should be smart and line up possible replacements to be signed in the transfer window.


New supremo Joan Laporta has been busy in the transfer market, already getting Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia from Manchester City on free transfers. However, it was the non-signing saga of Gini Wijnaldum that has got all the latest headlines. The Dutch midfielder, available for free, had been tipped to join the Blaugrana for weeks only for PSG to hijack the deal. With the French outfit doubling the salary offered, Wijnaldum left for life across the English Channel. This incident may not be a one-off too.


Wijnaldum’s international colleague Memphis Depay has been linked with Barcelona since the end of the league season in France. The club has chased Depay, also a free agent, for a long time in order to fulfil Laporta’s wish of getting Messi a top-rated strike partner. However, when it comes to splashing out the cash, Barcelona…cannot. The Blaugrana are under severe financial duress and even took a €500 million loan to pay current year’s salaries and other outstanding debts.

There have also been reports that Antoine Griezman and Ousmane Dembele can leave the club along with a lot of others. Laporta knows that only signing Aguero will not be enough to challenge for the league next term and he wants to show Messi that Barcelona can provide the Argentine with more help to achieve silverware.


If Depay’s deal does fall through at the last moment over monetary issues, it will be the cause of another great shame for the Catalan giants. Therefore, FootTheBall looks at other cheaper alternatives that the club can target this summer:



The Uruguayan youngster might not be the world-class talent promised by Laporta, but he can turn into one. Nunez had a brilliant breakout season with Benfica in Portugal, scoring six goals and assisting a further nine. He is an energetic player and has a passing percentage of 71.3% over the course of the season. Though this was just his first season in the Portuguese top flight, the 21-year-old can develop into an elite level striker soon enough.


Barcelona are seeing an influx of youth with Ansu Fati and Pedri both having become crucial pieces for the team. If they do decide to go the same way again, Nunez will be their best bet on the cheap. He is evaluated around €16 million presently, and there are signs that the club can pay that much if they are able to sell others.


Another big advantage with Nunez will be his salary which will be considerably less than any of the established stars available. He has also been scouted by the Catalans before he eventually joined Benfica. If he has a good Copa America with the national side and the Depay deal does fall through for whatever reason, signing Nunez will be a shrewd piece of business by the Blaugrana. 



The Croatian hitman has been a consistent performer for Hoffenhein in Germany for the past five seasons. He has amassed 77 goals over this period, including a record 20 which came this year. He has had five assists to go with it and Kramaric has been one of the top foreign players in the Bundesliga since his joining.


His passing accuracy of 82% and 59% shots on target prove that he has what it takes to be an elite goal scorer at any club. Kramaric also scored a couple of free kicks this season and that will also be highly appreciated at Camp Nou. He has one year remaining on his contract and Barcelona may be able to get him for less than €20 million too.


The 29-year-old will provide the central threat in their formation, and will surely be backing up Sergio Aguero for the early parts of the season. However, Kramaric’s instincts and finishing can be put to good use by Ronald Koeman and he will be very handy in their challenge for the league crown.



This one will take some explaining, so hear us out. Martinez is a player that has been linked with Barcelona for a long time now and was expected to join the club last year too. However, with both parties not agreeing on anything concrete, no deal materialised. Now, fresh reports indicate that the Argentine is not willing to sign a one-year extension to his current deal which ends in 2023.


That might be a part of a much larger, creative operation that some commentators have suggested. Inter, Martinez’s current club, are in desperate need of cash and will be selling some of their top players. Achraf Hakimi is one such player, who is rumoured to be coveted by Chelsea, PSG and a few other clubs.


If the Moroccan does leave, thoughts are Inter will want to sign the new Barcelona man Emerson Royal. The Blaugrana hope to use that as leverage in their negotiations for Martinez. These are the kind of deals that you make on Football Manager, which can just come true. Though for the time being, this remains the furthest of the possible options listed here.



Thus, we see that any kind of deal other than the Depay one will need some cash coming into the club. There are simply not enough free agents if the Dutchman does go elsewhere. In that scenario, Barcelona will need to sell big in order to bring the big name that everyone associated with the club wants. Alternately, they could also choose to not sign anyone and keep their faith with Ansu Fati who is set to return by the start of next season and had shown signs of brilliance in his very short career so far. 

Ratul Ghosh
His name means Red and a fan of devilish food, which equals to his favourite team being Manchester United. Can be found sleeping or in front of the TV otherwise. Hates waking up early but loves staying up late for football.

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