With just over a week remaining until the opening games of La Liga 2013/14 Barça have still not managed to secure the much-needed signing of a central defender. The two most-talked-about candidates, Chelsea’s David Luiz and Liverpool’s Daniel Agger, are both looking very complicated with both English clubs turning down offers from Barça this week.
According to The Daily Mail Chelsea turned down an offer of around €40 million and have apparently told Barça not to bother with any new bids as their Brazilian defender is not for sale. Barça then made a bid of €20 million for Agger only for Liverpool to reject it. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has shown no signs of wanting to sell the 28-year-old Dane so unless Agger declares a desire to leave, the move is unlikely to occur.
Agger may still end up at Camp Nou, but there is a very good chance now that Barça will fail to sign anybody which may seriously affect our challenge for titles this season. On their day Piqué, Mascherano and Puyol are three excellent defenders but Puyol is now 35 and with his recent record of injury problems it would be optimistic to expect him to be capable of playing in more than 60% of games.
After that we have Marc Bartrá who has shown plenty of promise but he cannot be considered a complete player yet. There may still be time for him to develop but he needs to find more consistency if he is going to make it to the top. Alex Song and Adriano were used last season as emergency centre-backs but neither is best suited to the role. Apart from that, Tata Martino has shown confidence in the 18-year old Cameroonian Frank Bagnack but he needs at least one season with Barça B to see if he really has what it takes to be promoted to the first team.
In short, if we don’t make a decent signing before the transfer window closes it will be a serious failing and we will almost certainly have problems at the back. How ironic that Eric Abidal should be called up for the French squad yesterday. Perhaps our problems would have been solved if we had not allowed the Frenchman to leave.