Barcelona’s early Champions League exit sparked somewhat of a meltdown from some corners of the media. People were getting a bit carried away that the world’s perceived greatest team were not going to win every trophy in sight this season.
They are still, for anyone’s money, the best. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar still look as good as unstoppable and, however many trophies they end the season with, they are probably the side most feared by the rest of Europe.
The Premier League is likely to still see FC Barcelona as the model of how to run a football club. Aside from some recent dodgy off-field goings-on, Barcelona are seen as the perfect football club. Their play is sensational and their results are just as good.
English teams might find it a bit of an ego-hit to buy players that are surplus to requirements elsewhere, but that is a little different at Barca. Just look at Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas for a start.
So, let’s take a look at FIVE Barcelona outsiders that the biggest Premier League sides like Liverpool and Spurs should target…
Converted to right-back in the last year or so, Roberto has still featured occasionally in central-midfield for Barcelona.
Once one of the great prospects from La Masia, the utility man looks unlikely to ever become a central figure for the Catalan giants. However, his 30 appearances across the Champions League and La Liga suggest that it might take quite an effort to lure him away from Barca.
One of the first options to fill-in for Luis Enrique, Sergi Roberto would be a great addition to many Premier League sides and his technical ability would quickly shine through.
Despite Barcelona’s relative weakness at centre-half, Bartra has never made a starting position his own.
Now 25 years old, you can’t help but feel that Bartra needs to move this summer for the sake of his career. With Liverpool and Spurs short of cover at centre-back it would make plenty of sense for them to move for him.
A class act in possession, Bartra would be ideal as a partner for Laurent Koscielny, particularly.
Another season disrupted by injury has limited the amount of game time for Rafinha. When Pedro was sold last summer it looked as though the attacking midfielder would get plenty of minutes this season, but he is now a further step down the pecking order with the arrival of Arda Turan.
Capable of playing as a standard central midfielder operating from a wide area, the Brazilian is an exciting dribbler and would be a great addition to Premier League football.
Sergi Samper has been talked about as a wonderful defensive midfield player for years now.
Only making a couple of first-team appearances under Luis Enrique this season suggest that he is not in Barcelona’s immediate plans and it is tricky to see how he will ever hold down a place with Sergio Busquets around.
A player with an exquisite eye for a pass, the Spanish deep-lying playmaker is likely to reach the pinnacle of European football if a club takes the chance of investing enough time in him.
Since January, when he was allowed to make his Barca debut, Turan has only managed to contribute two goals and three assists in La Liga.
Although his irrepressible quality is not in question, Turan’s role in the Barcelona squad is. He doesn’t fit into the forward line with the competition of MSN, Munir and Sandro, so he has to compete for a role in the midfield three, usually.
His breath-taking work-rate would slot perfectly into either Klopp or Pochettino’s sides and he has proven himself at the highest level already during his spell with Atleti.