The wheels are in motion for Barcelona to make a move or two in the transfer market in January, and right now it seems their interested in adding a couple of players; Eder Alvarez Balanta of River Plate and Graziano Pelle from Feyenoord.
It’s hard to deny Barcelona have a centre back issue. Not the foolish goals they concede almost every match, but in terms of depth as well. Gerard Pique plays with someone else almost every match, paired up with the young Marc Bartra in recent weeks, while Javier Mascherano, who is a defensive midfielder, is nursing an injury. There’s also Carles Puyol trying to comeback from his own health issues, but at some point, it might be time to move on from the club legend.
So Gerardo Martino turns his attention to Argentina and specifically River Plate, showing a lot of interest in Colombian centre back Eder Alvarez Balanta. The 20-year old has been a starter since the beginning of the latest season, joining River from Academia in 2011, taking a year or so to make his way out of the youth setup. Because of a contract dispute with River Plate, he wasn’t allowed to play for Colombia in the U-20 World Cup last summer.
Balanta has become one of the more talked about young defenders in South America, but at the moment there hasn’t been any official interest from anyone. He has a release clause worth $30 million, but River Plate will probably sell him for half that amount if a serious approach is made.
But Barcelona have also been looking to add a natural striker to the mix, turning their attention to Graziano Pelle, who has been on an absolute tear for the last couple of seasons with Feyenoord. Since joining the Dutch club from Parma, first on loan and on a permanent basis since this summer, he has scored 37 goals in 38 appearances for the team, finding success at a relatively advanced age.
Scoring goals in the Dutch league is rarely an indication of greatness in a tougher division, but for a team that doesn’t really rely on someone like him to be a big part of the lineup and only act as some relief from the bench or useful for a chance of style in certain moments, Pelle might fit the description of what’s necessary.