Rosell must act quickly to avoid transfer disappointment

Posted by Francesc Tomas

In football, as in life, those who stand still are often left in the past, under-prepared for the future ahead. Considering the fact that Barcelona have publicly refused to sign any reinforcements in the current transfer window, it is certainly time for Sandro Rosell and his board of directors to turn all their attention toward the summer.

The World Cup in Brazil will be a great opportunity for players to showcase their talents in front of the eyes of millions. However, that will also mean that any players that the Blaugranas may be inclined to attract to the Camp Nou are very likely to have their price-tag over-inflated by then.

Let's be clear: Given the huge debt that the Catalans have accumulated over the years, the club is likely to be priced out of the market by ultra-rich competitors such as Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid in a hypothetical last-minute battle over any upcoming stars who excel in Brazil 2014.

In other words: If Barcelona want to sign any great players ahead of next season, they have no time to waste and should close negotiations in the coming weeks. Any wasted time at this stage could lead to further disappointment once again.

Whether Cules like it or not, Victor Valdes will leave the Camp Nou in seven months’ time as he wants a change of scenery. Personally, I just don't understand what he could possibly need on a professional level that Barcelona isn't currently offering. After 522 appearances and 21 trophies for the club, one would have hoped that his main goal would be to hang his gloves in Catalunya. Unfortunately, he refused to even start contract renewal negotiations and is determined to further his career elsewhere. Oh well.

A huge variety of media have indicated that Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has been personally chosen by Andoni Zubizarreta to take the No. 1 spot at Barca. Having defended the Camp Nou goal himself, fans expect the under-pressure sporting director to get this one right as (let's face it) it would be disastrous to start the season without a reliable replacement for Valdes.

The future of Jose Manuel Pinto is also in the air at this stage. To be fair, the 38-year-old has performed to a decent standard whenever needed and definitely contributes to squad unity due to his professional attitude during training and the support he provides to his younger teammates. Having said that, I would personally look for a second keeper who can actually challenge for a starting spot.

As it has been the case for the last three years, Barcelona will also be willing to sign a centre-back this summer. Unlike in previous seasons, the club doesn't seem to have a clear target to chase this time round. David Luiz, Aymeric Laporte, Inigo Martinez and Mateo Musacchio have all been linked to the Blaugranas in recent weeks but the only truth is that time keeps going by and nothing gets done in order to cover the most obvious gap within the squad.

Sure, learning that Marc Bartra has agreed to renew his contract until 2017 is a definite positive given his potential but, ultimately, the team is still crying for someone capable to partner or, even better, take the lead from Gerard Pique in big matches against major rivals. Don't get me wrong, I have huge respect for Javier Mascherano and Carles Puyol but, based on recent performances, I just don't feel they have what it takes to contain world-class strikers.

The German media have reported that Barcelona may be interested in signing Ilkay Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund. While I am fully aware that the talented playmaker has a key role within Jurgen Klopp's midfield, I just don't see where he would fit within Gerardo Martino's team.

Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas continue to grow in leadership and stature within the squad and, in short, are going nowhere. With Xavi still going strong after a record 700 appearances for the Blaugranas and Sergi Roberto having played every single one of the last 13 matches, adding yet another midfielder can only be considered an added luxury, not a priority.

Time for Rosell to take key decisions which can ensure Barcelona's sporting success in the long term.

The Quote -- "We haven't decided whether to sign one or two goalkeepers in the summer. Jose Manuel Pinto has done very well, but we will see what happens." -- Zubizarreta.

201,000 Cules follow Francesc Tomas at @TomasESPN and Barcablog Facebook for news and opinion notes on Barcelona.


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