In a summer that has been stolen by Lionel Messi’s future at the Nou Camp, new Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman certainly has quite the rebuilding job on his hands in Catalonia.
While their attacking icon might have reluctantly announced that he would be staying put at the former European champions this season, there is chaos behind the scenes and they are a side still feeling the effects of their embarrassing 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich last month.
With Ivan Rakitić making a return to Sevilla last week and it appearing that Luis Suarez is inching closer to a move away from the Nou Camp, all eyes are on who Koeman could be bringing in the other direction.
With the European transfer window slamming shut on October 5th, who could be the big names on Koeman’s Catalonia wishlist?
Georginio Wijnaldum – Liverpool
While Georginio Wijnaldum might have cemented his spot as a firm fan favourite at Anfield since joining from Newcastle back in 2016, many on Merseyside feel that the 29-year-old’s tenure is drawing to a close.
Entering the final year of his current contract with the defending Premier League champions and with no signs of a new deal on the horizon, Sky Sports reported last week that the central midfielder is topping Koeman’s wishlist.
With it well-publicised that the two have a stellar relationship after Wijnaldum’s time working under Koeman with the Dutch national team, Spanish outlet Diario Sport have even gone as far to report that the Liverpool ace has already agreed on personal terms with the Spanish giants.
While it might be reported that Jurgen Klopp remains calm over Wijnaldum’s future as the Reds open their domestic return against Leeds this weekend, The Mirror are suggesting that the Premier League side would be willing to allow the Dutchman to leave for a fee around £15million this summer.
With it being continuously reported over the past month that Liverpool are keen on bringing Thiago Alcantara to Anfield, the Bayern Munich man could be seen as a ready-made replacement for Wijnaldum.
Memphis Depay – Lyon
With Koeman reportedly desperate to bring Wijnaldum to the Nou Camp this summer, the former Holland boss could be looking to bring another one of his Dutch protégés to Catalonia.
Playing a vital part in Lyon’s shock Champions League semi-final spot out in Portugal last month, Memphis Depay has only gone from strength to strength since swapping Manchester United for Lyon back in 2017.
He had previously struggled to make much of an impact in his season-and-a-half stay at Old Trafford, but has gone on to score 46 goals in 103 Ligue 1 appearances and gain a long list of admirers.
Recording five goals in his final seven European outings and his performances over the past 18 months earning him the captain’s armband with the French outfit, it is no secret that Koeman holds the 26-year-old in high regard.
With Lyon boss Rudi Garcia confirming that he would not stand in the way of Depay’s chance to join the European heavyweights this summer, Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia have gone as far as to claim that Barcelona have agreed a £22million deal with Les Gones.
Lautaro Martinez – Inter Milan
With it all but confirmed that Luis Suarez will be on his way out of the Nou Camp in a matter of days and likely on route to Juventus, Barcelona are desperate to find a replacement and have had one man at the top of their list.
Continuously linked with Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez, Goal reported over the weekend that Koeman’s new side are currently preparing a final bid for the Argentina ace and are ready to test I Nerazzurri’s resolve this summer.
While Martinez might have failed to help Inter lift the Europa League crown in Antonio Conte’s first campaign at the San Siro, the 23-year-old has enjoyed a stunning campaign in Italy and scored 24 goals across all competitions.
In a potential additional boost for Barcelona, reports coming out of Italian press are suggesting that a disgruntled Lionel Messi has given his blessing to Martinez’s potential arrival this summer and would be excited about the prospect of teaming up with his international teammate.
With it believed that Martinez would relish a move to Catalonia, many around the Nou Camp would be excited by the starlet replacing Suarez as Barcelona look to reclaim their La Liga title this season.
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