La Liga champions Barcelona appear to always be on the lookout for fresh acquisitions, quality players that can provide world-class ability on a consistent basis. After all, their domestic achievements in recent seasons have been somewhat overlooked by rivals Real Madrid and Los Blancos’ Champions League dominance – which is widely regarded as a more impressive feat.
Real’s 3-1 win over Liverpool late last month sealed a third consecutive Champions League triumph for Los Merengues and their record 13th title, four in the last five seasons.
So with that in mind, here’s a look at five Bundesliga players who would improve the current Barcelona squad if manager Ernesto Valverde and his coaching staff made approaches to sign them in future – whether that be this summer or later down the line.
In terms of notable absences, I’ve purposely omitted the likes of Bayern-bound Leon Goretzka and Mats Hummels – to make this more of a realistic piece, as the following five could actually join Barcelona in future seasons.
#5 Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
There’s no better way to start off this list than with a consistent young performer, who has excelled in recent seasons and exceeded expectations set for him while doing so.
Kimmich, still only 23, has made over 100 appearances for Bundesliga giants Bayern since joining three years ago and continues to improve. He predominantly plays at right-back but has shown he’s capable of playing in central midfield well too – particularly during his two-year spell with RB Leipzig in Germany’s second tier.
His existing deal in Bavaria is a lengthy one (2022) so, naturally. he would not be a cheap acquisition. Widely regarded as one of the world’s best full-backs with versatility in his repertoire, high prices are to be expected.
It’s also not impossible to see the move materialising either, not least if there is truth behind recent speculation. With 6 goals and a whopping 17 assists (all competitions) in 49 appearances this past season, it’s clear that he’s continuing to improve and earn invaluable experience along the way – both for club and country.
#4 Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen)
One player who can count himself unlucky not to be travelling to Russia for the World Cup next week is Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Jonathan Tah.
Tah, 22, signed a contract extension through to the 2022/23 campaign back in late February but is still being monitored by a number of top European sides.
The German’s impressive displays at the back for Leverkusen, despite their collective inconsistencies, means that he immediately sticks out as a quality performer – especially against tougher opposition – given he relishes challenges.
What’s also interesting is that he’s drawn comparisons to Bayern’s Jerome Boateng, who is himself a reliable defensive presence when fit. Tah is a physically imposing specimen, one who is dominant in the air, deceptively quick but crucially also quite comfortable with the ball at his feet.
That’s something that many have learned to appreciate as modern-day football has evolved, so it’s not hard to see how he would settle at Barcelona in a similar way to that of Samuel Umtiti.
#3 Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)
Timo Werner is the only forward that features in this list – for good reason. The 22-year-old striker, who netted 21 goals and created 10 more (all competitions) in 45 appearances this past season, has taken Europe by storm since RB Leipzig’s promotion to the top tier in 2016.
Barcelona – Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez aside – do not have any clinical finishers in their first-team squad. This move would work wonders for both parties as Werner, who himself still has developing to do, has proven his pedigree over two seasons among Europe’s top sides.
He can provide attacking flair, creativity and naturally fashion chances out of seemingly nothing – evidenced by his Europa League displays in particular. Paco Alcácer is Barcelona’s other centre-forward and has been heavily linked with the exit door this summer.
So this move would be a surprise but a welcome one. He would continue to progress, among better players, without the pressure nor expectation of being their sole focal point in attack.
Previously netting goals with regularity at youth level, Joachim Low granted Werner his first senior cap for Germany in March last year against England. Since then, he’s made 13 more appearances and will be expected to star if Die Mannschaft are to retain their World Cup trophy.
#2 Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)
Another of Leipzig’s best performers, Dayot Upamecano, is a highly-rated teenager and one that has unsurprisingly attracted interest across Europe.
Widely regarded as one of the world’s best young defenders, the 19-year-old Frenchman prides himself on his tough-tackling nature in addition to interceptions – another area where he excels.
He completed 41 tackles and a further 62 interceptions in 25 Bundesliga matches this past season alone, which doesn’t take other competitions into account. Naturally, Dayot’s youthful exuberance means adopting a fearless nature overrides the inexperience he has at the highest level.
But that’s something that he will continue to improve as he matures with more minutes under his belt. In the current market of grossly-inflated transfer fees, quality defenders are becoming an increasingly difficult commodity to manage.
Barcelona themselves have recently been linked with launching a world-record bid (for a defender) in order to secure his services, not least given their ageing backline – one which could be set for a decade to come with Umtiti and Upamecano at the heart of central defence.
#1 Julian Weigl (Borussia Dortmund)
The top player in this list, for a few reasons, is Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Weigl. Someone blessed with world-class potential, he’d represent an excellent signing and one that would succeed Sergio Busquets as Barca’s midfield metronome in future.
His presence would benefit Barcelona, especially in the long-term. Pep Guardiola, while at Bayern, had previously been interested in him. He has since reignited his interest, according to reports. It’s not hard to see why.
At 22, Weigl epitomises a refreshing change from the traditional midfield player. He’s booked more than he scores or creates assists, but does precisely the job which allows his attacking teammates to flurry forward with regularity.
Weigl occupies the role between defence and attack in midfield, doing so with both poise and precision to impressive effect. In 26 games across both the Bundesliga and Champions League this past season, Weigl averaged 87% pass accuracy, 45 completed tackles and 37 interceptions too.
Even just by looking at those statistics, it’s frustrating that he did not play more regularly this season. Injuries have played their part though, as he has suffered from troublesome knocks and setbacks in recent seasons.
A muscular injury last month has stopped him from featuring as part of Germany’s World Cup squad, an untimely blow for such an integral player.
Stats source: Squawka