It’s quite clear to everyone that the first issue Barcelona need to address this summer is improving their defense, especially the middle of it. There are quite a few names, big ones, circulating as those destined to play for the club next season, but for now it looks like Vincnent Kompany might be the first name to arrive, even before Mats Hummels and/or Thiago Silva.
It’s not like Barcelona to start purchasing anything available. They usually strengthen their lines with one or two players, never ones to shake up the foundations too much. And yet, there’s no avoiding the fact that Carles Puyol isn’t up for the job of playing an entire season while keeping himself healthy, while Gerard Pique is both having a bad season and suffering from the ever-changing partner routine playing next to him, most of them (Javier Mascherano, Alex Song) aren’t even natural central defenders.
Kompany, before this season, elevated himself to the highest of levels when it came to his position. He was fantastic for Manchester City in leading them towards their first title in over 40 years, but injuries and a general dip of form for the entire team, including Joe Hart behind him, affected his ability as well. The relationship with Roberto Mancini didn’t aid the situation on the pitch, and Kompany didn’t look like unbeatable-in-the-air, confident and tough centre back on a consistent level.
Still, at 27 and healthy, it’s difficult to find someone better at tackling and handling, shoulder to shoulder, attacking players. A change of scenery seems to be something a lot of players who were involved in a disappointing City season are looking for, as the atmosphere in the dressing room over the final months of the seasons wasn’t the most positive you can imagine.
Is Kompany the best available player at the moment? Not entirely sure, and City aren’t going to let him go without a fight after signing him on a six-year contract before this season began. His price tag? Probably around £20 million, something Barcelona shouldn’t have a problem of paying, but it seems a lot depends on which teams offers the quickest negotiations: City for Kompany, or Dortmund and PSG for Hummels and Thiago Silva.