By the looks of things, Barcelona attacker Neymar is on the verge of an exit from the Camp Nou. The Brazilian has been pivotal for the Catalan Giants and has formed one of the deadliest attacking trios with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Catalan outfit Barcelona were previously linked with Antonio Griezmann, in order to add depth to their squad. While the French forward has now extended his contract with Atletico Madrid, recent speculation regarding the departure of Neymar from the club, could force Barcelona into signing an attacking player, either as a backup or as a replacement.
Here are few attackers who could fancy a move to the Camp Nou this summer:
Currently on international duty at the Euros, Ivan Perisic has been the standout performer for an agile Croatian side that managed to overturn the mighty Spanish and top Group C. The Croatian has scored twice in three games played in France and immediately caught the eye of Barca boss Luis Enrique (via Football Italia).
According to Tuttosport, the 27-year-old is valued at €30 million – a bargain, given his ability to turn a game on its head in the blink of an eye. Currently plying his trade in Italy, with Serie A side Inter Milan, Perisic has scored 7 goals and tallied 6 assists from his 34 league appearances.
His favourite position is on the left wing where he likes to cut-in and whip crosses into the area with his stronger right foot. According to WhoScored, the Inter attacker featured 13 times on the left flank and managed to record an impressive 5 goals and 4 assists during that spell.
It would be wise for Barca to invest in a left wing-forward should Neymar decide to leave. During injury scenarios, Perisic could also deputize for the strike duo of Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. His ability to play in a deeper role would also be an asset for Enrique.
Juventus striker Paulo Dybala is a perfect example of what epitomizes a modern-day striker, or the “number nine” as they call it. The Argentine prefers playing as a lone man attacking the opposition goal. He thrives with the creativity around him, and on his day is one of the calmest finishers one is likely to see.
Mundo Deportivo reported that if Neymar decides to leave the Catalan Giants, Dybala would be shortlisted as the number 1 heir to the Brazilian. The 2015/16 season has been a pleasant one for the 22-year-old, as he scored 19 goals and provided 9 assists in the 34 games he played this season (via WhoScored)
Calling in Dybala to fill in the boots of Neymar seems like a far-fetched assumption. Neymar’s style is based on drifting wide, dribbling past defenders and feeding the ball to the striker, and is completely different from the style Dybala adapts.
The Juve striker is more of a central option and seldom does he play out wide. Rather than creating chances for others, he is more of a player who’s on the receiving end of those chances, typically a Suarez-esque player. Thus, while his stats may glitter, Dybala might not be the ideal replacement to Neymar.
According to the Sport, Palmeiras starlet Gabriel Jesus has emerged as a shock transfer target for the Catalan outfit. The publication also stated that Barcelona launched a bid in the €19 million bracket, but the owners of the player (third party involvement) rejected the offer made by the Spanish side.
The IB Times further went on to state that Palmeiras boss Cuca has advised the player to turn his back on Barcelona and continue his development in Brazil. He is of the opinion that the youngster would be under-utilized as Messi, Suarez and Neymar would be given preferential treatment.
Barcelona’s director of football Raul Sanllehi scouted the player during Palmeiras’ win over America where Gabriel recorded a brace. Gabriel said that he was aware that Barcelona were keeping eyes on him, and revealed that it would be a dream come true to play for them (via Sport).
The 19-year old is a clinical striker of the ball and has a knack for finding the back of the net. In the ongoing Brasileirão campaign, Gabriel already has 6 goals to his name, backed by a couple of assists. Predominantly a centre-forward, the Brazilian has featured on either flanks for Palmeiras, showcasing his versatility. When played out wide, he likes to cut in and dribble past defenders. On occasions, Gabriel tracks back and provides a shift defensively. Even if the Catalan side
When played out wide, he likes to cut in and dribble past defenders. On occasions, Gabriel tracks back and provides a shift defensively. Even if the Catalan side hold on to Neymar, this tremendously talented 19-year-old can certainly be considered as one for the future.