How Barcelona can improve after selling Neymar

PSG are expected to complete a sensational swoop for Brazilian forward Neymar and that world record-shattering move will leave Barcelona short of a superstar forward. Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have formed the most feared attacking triumvirate in world football at Barca and the club will need to choose wisely when replacing Neymar. They will have plenty of money with which to do so as Neymar’s release clause stands at £198 million, more than double the existing world record, and they could well turn to the Premiership. Clubs like Chelsea and Liverpool could now face a real battle to keep hold of their prize assets.

There are very few players in world football that have the ability to slot in alongside Messi and Suarez and not immediately be dwarfed by their talent. Barcelona could never hope to raid their great rivals Real Madrid for someone like Cristiano Ronaldo or even Gareth Bale. Antoine Griezmann at Atletico Madrid would be an option but he has pledged to stay at the club this summer after Atletico were banned from signing anyone. An offer from Barcelona could sway him, but maybe not. Two players spring to mind that could hold their own in Barca’s attack: Kylian Mbappe and Paulo Dybala. However, Real Madrid are in pole position to sign Mbappe and Barcelona would struggle to capture him. Dybala might be a more realistic target.

But the dream option would have to be Eden Hazard. He is maturing into a devastating attacker with improving consistency and he would thrive at the Nou Camp. When freed of defensive responsibility Hazard flourishes and there would be no tracking back for him at Barcelona. Another name constantly being linked with Barca is Philippe Coutinho. He is a magnificent talent, but not really a direct replacement for his Brazilian compatriot. You would have to view Coutinho as more of a successor to Andres Iniesta, and Barca seem intent on signing him. If they their war chest is bolstered to the tune of £200 million, they can invest heavily and Jurgen Klopp will struggle to keep hold of him. But that would still leave Barcelona short of an attacker and they could well go after Hazard, which could prove disastrous to Chelsea’s bid to retain their Premiership title.

Chelsea are filthy rich and do not need the money, but the lure of the Nou Camp is extremely powerful and Hazard, like Coutinho, could have his head turned. That could in turn force Chelsea to do business, and this could start a transfer merry-go-round. If Chelsea and Liverpool were to lose their best attacking talents, they would have to be ruthless in their efforts to replace them, and Arsenal could be on the receiving end of a big money offer for Alexis Sanchez. This summer has seen crazy spending by Premiership clubs and is destined to break records, but if Barcelona pitch up and raid the league in the wake of the Neymar deal then things could amplify enormously.

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