Barcelona could land three “bargains” in the January transfer window as Ronald Koeman’s side look to strengthen their squad despite enduring financial difficulties.
According to Fernando Polo at Mundo Deportivo, Manchester City defender Eric Garcia, Lyon’s Memphis Depay, and Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum remain the new manager’s top targets.
What could tempt Barca into doing business in January is that all three players are in the final year of their current contracts, meaning they are able to negotiate with other clubs when the window opens and will be free agents at the end of the season.
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Koeman Talks Up Wijnaldum, Memphis Moves
Koeman has already admitted that Wijnaldum “was on his list” over the summer in an interview with NOS. He was also asked about interest in Memphis and replied “let’s hope we have a second Dutchman on the squad.”
The Netherlands international has revealed he was close to a deadline-day move to the Camp Nou. He told NOS that the transfer broke down at the last minute.
“I was quite close to Barca. Only technicalities stopped me from signing. We don’t need to get into all the details but there were certain rules that unfortunately stopped them from buying us.
“Now I’m focused on Olympique Lyon and I want to be important there again. Later we’ll see how things go, but it’s possible the interest there will remain.”
Yet Depay has gone on to warn Barca they could face stiff competition for his signature in the winter. He told Algemeen Dagblad: “I’m 26 and almost free, so you can expect clubs to be interested in me, no?”
The forward starred under Koeman for the Netherlands national team and could yet get the chance to work with the Dutch coach again.
Garcia to Return?
Garcia also saw a late move for Barcelona fail due to financial issues. Manchester City’s football operations officer Omar Berrada told the Manchester Evening News that talks failed because Barcelona “weren’t able or were willing to meet” their valuation.
The 19-year-old came through the youth ranks at Barcelona and is wanted back at the club where he could potentially prove to be the long-term replacement for 33-year-old Gerard Pique.
Yet Barca are also thinking about other center-backs in case Manchester City refuse to lower their asking price in January, according to Polo.
Barcelona B youngsters Santiago Ramos Mingo, Oscar Mingueza, and Oriol Busquets are all options, while Bayern’s David Alaba is another player in the final year of his contract.