With Thierry Henry closing in on his 83rd birthday, and the New York Red Bulls seemingly interested in the ageless Frenchman, the reigning champions of everything are no doubt in the market for a replacement at left wing.
Last season, the French international had a renaissance year, scoring 36 goals in 55 starts. Alas, all good things must come to an end as the “ageless one” has scored just twice in 24 games this season.
Thank god for little Pedro Rodríguez Ledesma, who has subbed in at left wing all season, granting old man Henry’s weary legs a rest, while scoring a nifty 15 goals in the process. As good of a player Pedro seems to be, and no doubt he will be a really good one, he may lack the world class potential necessary to lace up the boots consistently for La Blaugrana.
So where does that leave the champs? Glad you asked. One great thing about La Blaugrana is they are not Real Madrid (financially speaking), meaning that the club has the finances to pull off any deal that Pep Guardiola, and whoever the teams new president will be come this summer, feels necessary. Assuming that Andres Inesta stays in his play making midfield position, Barcelona will surly be in the market for a new left wing. Let’s take a look at some possible replacements whose names have been tossed into the ring thus far.
Luis Suarez– Some people say that playing in the Eredivisie automatically doubles your goal total, but if that is the case, Suarez still has a nasty goal hull. Suarez has 22 goals in the league alone including a double brace (4) in one game last week. Suarez just re-signed with Ajax, and no matter how that sounds, that actually makes it easier for him to be sold. Cost Ajax are in line to make some big money off Suarez, having bought him for 800,000 Euros. I can see him being sold for somewhere between 15-23 million Euros. Chances 65%
Frank Ribery– This may be the ideal fit for Barcelona, a very creative an attack minded natural winger, Ribery will see Real Madrid and Barcelona both fight for his signature. The 26 year old Frenchmen is quite injury prone, and his value will be nowhere near the 75 million Euros that Bayren were quoting teams last summer. Cost:30-47 million euros. Chances:55%
David Villa– Ahh…a perennial Pichichi contender, Villa would be a great addition to Barcelona, as he brings what the team lost when Eto’o left for Inter, a true goal scorer with a nose for the back of the net. He would fit well with Messi on the right and Ibra sitting pretty in the middle, Villa would make Barcelona’s front three the most formidable in the world. If word it to be believed, Villa is waiting on Barcelona to make a move, so he may be willing to give Barca a discount for Champions league play consistently. The only downside on Villa is possibly his age, at 28 he is no spring chicken. Cost:30-40 million euros Chances:55%-60%
David Silva– If you ask the guys at Barcelona Football Blog, Villas partner up front at Valencia, David Villa may be the perfect fit for Barcelona. A natural left winger, Silva can fit in to Barcelona’s system without much trouble, as he seems to see the field the same way as Barcelona’s play makers do. He is also young and would be the cheapest of the lot. Cost:20-25 million euros Chances:60-70%
Whoever the defending champs decide to place opposite player of the year Leo Messi, surely the debate will rage on.