BARCELONA

Barcelona's 2020 plan: central defender, refreshed attacking line

Barça's transfer priorities include finding a replacement for Gerard Piqué and bringing in a new striker to line up alongside Ansu Fati.

The year 2020 will bring in what could be major changes at Barcelona. New faces, and above all a feeling of renewal. While the club's aim is to squeeze the absolute maximum out of its old guard - because nobody has won more than them and there are few footballers on the planet with their abilities - it is time to face up to the reality that nothing is as certain as change.

Barcelona transfer targets

Barcelona's transfer market priorities for the coming summer are to find a replacement for central defender Gerard Piqué and sign one or two strikers, who along with Ansu Fati, will form the new attacking line up of the side.

The matter of the defence is not as pressing, so long as Piqué doesn't decide to bring forward his departure from either the club or football entirely. That would appear not to be the case, going on the latest interviews provided by the player. The belief at the club is that 'Geri' has several more years of top level football in him. Still, the club want to have his replacement ready so they can start the process of adaptation to the Barça way. The desire at the club to make a move now also comes from the lack of confidence in the progression of Todibo, who still appears inexperienced, and the doubts over Samuel Umtiti's injury troubles - his left knee is at risk of trouble from cartilage issues.

In addition to Matthijs de Ligt, who remains a target for Barcelona, despite his agent Mino Raiola saying the club had treated his client like "cheese", the club are keeping an eye on Chelsea player Christensen; Milenkovic, Fiorentina's tall defender; and Diego Carlos, currently at Sevilla.

More support for Messi

The need for a striker appears to be rather more than simply a replacement for Luis Suárez. As is now well known, Lautaro Martínez is this summer's big target. Because, whether Suárez carries on or not, Barça will sign a number 9. But that might not be all. The possible return of Neymar, the interest in Dani Olmo and the explosion of Ansu Fati means the renovation of the forward line could even include the departure of Dembélé, who looks likely to finish his third season without having ever justified the money Barça paid Borussia Dortmund for his services.

The aim of Barcelona is to surround Messi with the best possible players during his final years, and the likes of Griezmann, Lautaro, Neymar, Dani Olmo and Ansu Fati would appear to satisfy that requirement, even if that means taking the focus away from Luis Suárez, although the Uruguayan once again insinuated just the other day that he'd be happy renewing for another year...