Barcelona might have to look for alternatives to Jose Gaya. Here are three options for the Blaugrana to target in place of the Spanish left-back.

Barcelona’s travails in the January transfer window reflected their 2021/22 campaign thus far. The winter window started strongly for the Blaugrana as they signed Ferran Torres from Manchester City, while Dani Alves officially began his second stint after arriving on a free transfer.

But after an impressive start to the January transfer window, Barcelona struggled to offload unwanted players, while waiting until the final days to bring in more players. Adama Traore returned to Camp Nou ahead of deadline day, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang officially joined after the market had closed.

The major miss for Barcelona in the January transfer window was their inability to sign a left-back after pursuing Nicolas Tagliafico for days on end. While the Argentine defender was keen on joining the club, the Blaugrana and Ajax could not finalise the terms of a late deal, forcing the former to call off the pursuit ahead of deadline day.

The Catalan giants now need to lay down the groundwork for the summer transfer window and put plans in place on time to ensure they do not miss out on their key targets heading into the 2022/23 season. Signing a left-back appears to be a priority for Barcelona, with Jose Gaya on top of their wishlist.

Jordi Alba’s form has been waning sharply in the last few years, and there is a feeling that it is high time for Barcelona to sign a replacement for the Spanish international. With Alejandro Balde yet to fully get going at Camp Nou, an in-house replacement is not an option for the Catalan giants. Gaya is thus a viable target for them.

But with the Spanish international in talks with Valencia over a new long-term contract, Barcelona will have to keep their options open so that they do not miss out on another key target. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle looks at three alternatives for Barcelona to consider if they set their sights away from Jose Gaya.

Nicolas Tagliafico

Pondering a move to Barcelona? (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Mulling a move to Barcelona? (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

The first alternative will not come as a surprise to many, considering Barcelona chased this player’s signature throughout the January transfer window. We are, of course, talking about Nicolas Tagliafco, who should continue to be top of Barcelona’s wishlist.

The Argentine international was also keen on joining Barcelona last month. And if his situation at Ajax does not improve in the second half of the season, one would imagine that he will push for a move to Camp Nou with purpose when the summer transfer window opens.

The 29-year-old’s age also makes him an ideal option for Barcelona, considering he will only be a short-term solution at Camp Nou and will likely not hinder the long-term progress of Alejandro Balde. With Jordi Alba’s performance levels declining rapidly, signing a player at the peak of his powers could prove to be very useful for Barcelona.

Tagliafico’s price tag is unlikely to be restrictive, considering Ajax had demanded around €7 million for him in the January transfer window. And if his situation at the Dutch club does not improve, there is a high chance that his valuation will reduce further, putting him within Barcelona’s reach in the summer.

Alejandro Grimaldo

Could Grimaldo return to Barcelona soon? (Photo by Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images)
Could Grimaldo return to Barcelona soon? (Photo by Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images)

While Tagliafico had become the priority option for Barcelona over the course of the January transfer window, there is another left-back who has featured prominently in links with the Catalan club. That player is Alejandro Grimaldo.

A former La Masia trainee, the Spanish defender has gone from strength to strength since joining Benfica in the January transfer window of 2016. The 26-year-old has also well and truly overcome the injury issues that plagued him a few years ago and is now in prime physical condition.

While he remains on the fringes of the Spanish national side, Grimaldo is unquestionably one of the best left-backs in Europe. But his arrival could come in the way of Balde becoming the first-choice left-back for Barcelona, although Barcelona should cross that bridge when they get there, as Balde progressing sufficiently is not set in stone.

Alex Telles

Embed from Getty Images

The final option might be a bit left of centre, but could be an ideal target to pursue if a move for Jose Gaya does not materialise. And his age profile also fits with Barcelona’s desire to install Alejandro Balde as the true heir to Jordi Alba in the coming years.

Alex Telles joined Manchester United from FC Porto 18 months ago and was seen as a major upgrade on Luke Shaw. What the Brazilian defender might not have foreseen was Shaw’s resurgent form that helped him become one of the best full-backs in England.

As a result, Telles has largely had to play second-fiddle to Shaw at Manchester United, although his stock has risen since Ralf Rangnick’s appointment as the interim boss. But with several changes expected at Manchester United in the summer transfer window, Telles’s position as the first-choice left-back is not secure yet.

A switch to Barcelona could enable the Manchester United defender to secure the last big transfer of his career while being a short-term replacement for Jordi Alba. As is the case with Tagliafico, the 29-year-old will likely not come in the way of Alejandro Balde becoming Alba’s true successor if Barcelona’s projection yields the right results.

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