Three Players Who Ernesto Valverde Could Sign Now That He Has Taken Over At Barcelona
Barcelona did not waste a lot of time in finding a replacement for former boss Luis Enrique as they announced that Ernesto Valverde will be the new manager of the club. The former Athletic Bilbao boss was tipped as the favourite to take over at Camp Nou after Enrique announced in March that he would be stepping down at the end of the season. Valverde has now signed a two-year deal with an option to extend for another year.
A former Barcelona forward, Valverde was in charge at the San Mames for 4 years and will now be taking over the reins from Enrique, who led Barcelona to a treble in his first season in 2014/15, a domestic treble in the subsequent season and to a Copa Del Rey win last campaign.
The recently concluded season was slightly underwhelming for the Catalans, as they finished as runners-up in the La Liga behind arch-rivals Real Madrid, and crashed out of the UEFA Champions League at the quarter-finals stage. Valverde will have a task on his hands to take Barca back to the summit of both league and European competitions in the coming seasons.
The former Athletic boss will definitely bring in a few players in the summer, as he would look to build the team in his own image in order to lead the Blaugrana back to glory. Here are three players that the 53-year old could sign as his first action in the summer:
Ander Herrera (Manchester United)
The 27-year old played under Valverde during his days at Athletic Bilbao before he moved to Manchester United in the summer of 2014 and the new Barcelona manager might be keen on working with Herrera once again.
After a slow start at United, Herrera has become a vital cog in the Red Devils midfield this past campaign under Jose Mourinho and has established himself as a firm fan favourite. The Spaniard played an important role helping United to the EFL Cup and UEFA Europa League successes and is regarded as indispensable at the Old Trafford.
Valverde would want to add more dynamism to the midfield and Herrera would be the ideal option to recruit.
Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
The right-back spot has been a big bone of contention for Barcelona after they failed to replace Dani Alves who joined Juventus last summer. They have had to make do with Sergi Roberto and Vidal in that position and were also forced to use Andre Gomes late in the season.
So a new right-sided full-back will be on the top of the shopping list for Blaugrana and they can swoop in for Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta. The Spaniard was one of the Blues’ top performer leading them to the Premier League title this season under Antonio Conte – albeit playing in a quarterback role in the three-man defence.
Azpilicueta remains a natural right-back with loads of experience and his performances this season will only strengthen Barcelona’s wishes of signing him as they could do with someone of his versatility. The 28-year old Spanish international will also be able to offer cover in the heart of the defence, while also filling in at left-back, making him a wonderful transfer target to have.
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Coutinho has developed into one of the best attacking midfielders in the Premier League since his arrival from Inter Milan and has been the focal point of the progress Liverpool have made in the last few years. His versatility, combined with his ability to create and score goals in plenty make him an attractive prospect for the Blaugrana.
Coutinho recently signed a new contract with the Merseysiders, but the Brazilian is a player that Barcelona simply cannot refuse to give up on. He would be perfect to the way the Catalans play and he can also be the successer of Andres Iniesta, who is now 33-years old.