Widely renowned as the greatest footballing side ever, one thing Barcelona’s players are not is timeless.
With Carles Puyol’s career winding down, the captain having featured much more sporadically in league competition this year as he nears his 34th birthday, Pep Guardiola now looks to have identified the man he wants to bring in as his long-term replacement.
27-year-old AC Milan defender Thiago Silva is believed to be heading for the Nou Camp, and as the Brazilian has a €30m release clause in his contract, the Catalan giants are not expected to have too much trouble in meeting the required fee for the dynamic central defender’s services.
That will be music to the ears of Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp, whose coveted asset Gareth Bale is also believed to be the subject of admiration from Guardiola.
Barca have long been linked with a move for the Welsh winger, who can also operate at left-back, though it is thought that a fee in the region of Cristiano Ronaldo’s world record £80million would be required to complete any deal.
With that in mind, it is extremely unlikely that even the reigning European champions could complete a deal for both players, and the Spanish outfit are likely to prioritise the signing of defenders over more attacking talent this summer.
This appears to be proved by their pursuit of Valencia full-back Jordi Alba, who would provide cover for 32-year-old Eric Abidal and offer a valuable added defensive option for the La Liga champions.
Alba and Silva would seem to be the most likely arrivals for Guardiola this summer, after missing out on the pair in January, and it would seem feasible that Alba’s €20m release clause would not prove too much of a stumbling block in preventing both players joining the club in the summer.