Unusually, it’s been rather quiet on the Spanish ‘Big Two’ front. Barcelona have signed Jordi Alba, but haven’t been linked with too many premier players, until now. It seems that the La Liga runners-up from last season are looking for some midfield boost, hoping to land either Yohan Cabaye or Yann M’Vila.
It actually began as some suggested Barcelona were looking to return Yaya Toure. After upgrading the left back position with the fantastic European champion Jordi Alba from Valencia (€14 million), the club is expected to move in other directions where they need added strength. A striker, perhaps? At the moment, David Villa is expected to make a return, and with him and Alexis, Barca might decide not to find a number 9 or something similar in a very fluid and flexible system, allowed by the presence of one Lionel Messi.
Knowing Carles Puyol isn’t as durable as in years past, finding a centre back might also be considered. A rumor referring to Mats Hummels came up after his rather successful Euro, although it’s probably nothing more than a rumor. If in need, Vilanova might opt to use Sergio Busquets or Javier Mascherno as his centre backs, getting a lot of playing time as defenders last season. Either way, a little more quality and depth to a team that looked a bit tired as the season reached its decisive stages is something everyone agree Barcelona need.
So the midfield? Defensive midfield. Yaya Toure spent three seasons at the Nou Camp, winning two league titles and one Champions league trophy with Barcelona before moving on to more money at Manchester City. He has changed his game into a more attacking role since moving to the Premier League, but regardless, it seems he isn’t interested being part of a deal that’ll see him leave the English champions.
Yohan Cabaye or Yann M’Vila, both played to differing success levels at the recent Euro tournament, and both might be the next targets for Barcelona. Cabaye, who’s coming off a fantastic debut season with Newcastle (4 goals, 9 assists) played well in the Euro as long as he was alongside Alou Diarra, giving him more space and time to spend on the attacking side of the game. Barcelona don’t quite operate the same way other teams do, both on and off the pitch, and Cabaye, no matter the role in the midfield, looks like a good fit at first glance.
M’Vila was actually a disappointment at the Euro. When he got the chance to start, he was clearly out of his league, along with Cabaye against a Spanish midfield that eliminated France from the field. It’s not only their fault, as Blanc chose a cautious, too cautious approach. M’Vila, who is only 22, is a more classic defensive midfielder, with the impossible to ignore physical presence. He has a bit more influential role with his club Rennes, who are getting a lot of faxes with offers for the youngster.
Who’s the better fit? Cabaye looks a bit more accustomed to pass & move than M’Vila, who’s much more of a midfield stopper. But there are enough players who know what to do with the ball, and maybe a bit more tenacity and physical strength is something Barcelona are missing.