Barcelona are set for another busy summer of arrivals with the club targeting another group of signings without a transfer fee to bolster Xavi’s first-team ranks
It follows on from a busy January transfer window for the Catalan club who made a quartet of signings to bolster their first-team squad. Veteran Brazilian full-back Dani Alves became the first signing of coach Xavi Hernandez at the Camp Nou.
Alves was the first of four January arrivals who have transformed Xavi’s Barcelona, with the new boss backed with strong investment from the board to complete several additional signings. After signing Alves, Barca completed the signing of Ferran Torres from Manchester City and then secured the loan signing of La Masia graduate Adama Traore from Wolves before clinching the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The arrivals of Christensen and Kessie will both be as free agents, while the club did not spend any transfer fee on the arrivals of Alves and Aubameyang in January. Furthermore, Sergio Aguero (who has subsequently retired), Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay joined Barca as free agents last summer.
This means that the club have signed a total of seven players without a transfer fee within the space of a year, and they are targeting several more for this summer as they keep an eye on reducing costs through transfer fees due to their ongoing precarious financial situation. There are several more free agents who may link up with the club this summer.
Two of them are Christensen’s defensive teammates at Stamford Bridge. Antonio Rudiger is also out of contract at the Blues and held talks with Barca this week over a summer transfer. As things stand, Chelsea cannot agree new player contracts due to the sanctions on owner Roman Abramovich. Veteran defender Cesar Azpiliceuta – who is technically not out of contract as his one-year contract extension was triggered by a minimum appearance record – remains on Barca’s radar with the player open to a switch, while the Champions League holders may agree to sanction his exit due to goodwill.
Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana joined Barcelona in 2010, after starting out at the Samuel Eto’o Foundation – and he could return to the club as a free agent in the summer. The Cameroon international would fit Barca’s style of play and his theoretical return to the Camp Nou could allow the club to cash-in on Ter Stegen, who has endured somewhat of a decline in form over the past 18 months. Onana has been linked with a switch to Inter, but no confirmation of a summer destination has yet been confirmed.
Onana could theoretically be playing behind a defence containing all three of Rudiger, Christensen and Azpiliceuta, with his current Ajax teammate Noussair Mazraoui at right-back. The Moroccan international is also out of contract this summer and could complete a free switch to the Camp Nou to complete a defensive set.
The Catalan club are also monitoring the situation of former Manchester United youth product Adnan Januzaj, who is out of contract at Real Sociedad at the end of the campaign. The Basque club are growing increasingly uncertain on his future amid speculation that he could move to the Camp Nou.
This would mean that seven summer signings – none of whom could cost a transfer fee – could be added to the ranks of Xavi’s squad. They could be complemented by current teenage stars Pedri, Gavi (both midfielders) and forward Ansu Fati, alongside one of the two January signings of Ferran Torres or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in attack.
Barcelona’s potential new-look XI (4-3-3): Onana; Mazraoui, Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta; Kessie, Pedri, Gavi; Januzaj, Ferran Torres, Ansu Fati