It is no longer news that the third member of the lethal attacking MSN trio, Brazilian forward, Neymar is set to complete a world record move to French side PSG, it is also evident that Barcelona may have been bullied into letting go of their star player and have failed to handle the drama surrounding the transfer in the best of ways, (we would spare you the details of the complicated and mind-boggling figures, which is already public knowledge). Spanish giants Barcelona may be getting armed with 222M Euros in their account, but with the transfer window closing at the end of the month, new Manager Ernesto Valverde faces his first big test at the helm of affairs as he seeks to fill the shoes of a player arguably regarded as the 3rd best player in the world.
It has been a magical period for the MSN, four years in which the trio struck a lethal partnership that delivered not just goals and trophies but also brought terror on their opposition. So the La Masia project having being abandoned and a new manager saddled with the responsibility of regaining the mantle of the best team in Spain from Real Madrid, Barcelona are almost committed to getting a replacement and a number of names have been thrown around, here is a look at the 5 best players who could be drafted as replacements by the Catalan giants.
- Philip Coutinho (Liverpool): A Brazilian for a Brazilian on paper looks ideal, coupled with the fact that Barcelona has shown interest in the dynamic midfielder for a while and recently tabled bids which were rejected, with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp openly stating that the player is not for sale at any price. But like we have learnt in this transfer window, one can never say never; Coutinho produces the odd bit of magic, famous for his breathtaking goals and quite creative and could easily play from the wings but he could also be erratic, inconsistent and plain at crucial moments.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea): Maybe a far stretch as he seems like a player who is unlikely to move and even when he does decide to, will favor a move to Real Madrid, but many are of the opinion that the Belgian player looks the best fit for the role, Hazard is a genius on the ball, quick feet, experienced and has an eye for goals, and with Messi and Suarez by his side, he could easily improve into becoming the beast of the player that his talent possesses.
Kylian Mbappe (Monaco): Another name who potentially fits the requirements of the vacant position, arguably the best teenager in the game presently, touted to be highly sought by Real Madrid and his signing would not only appease the Barcelona fans but also deliver to the team a potential great, though one largely unproven. It also looks highly unlikely that Monaco will be willing to let their star forward leave in the current window but when Barcelona comes calling, every teenage footballer suddenly remembers that they once had dreams of playing in front of the over 90,000 fans at the Camp Nou.
Ousmanne Dembele (Borussia Dortmund): The 20 year old French International alongside Kylian Mbappe represents the future generation of European football, signed for just 12.75M last season, the teenager has grown into one of Europe’s most promising talents. He packs a bag of pace, endless tricks and naturally gifted but this may be one step too quick for him to take at this stage in his career and might prove a gamble too risky to venture.
Paulo Dybala (Juventus): Though favored by his national team colleague Lionel Messi, Juventus have insisted overtime that the 23-year old Argentine whizkid is not for sale at any price. Dybala was key to the Italian side’s successful campaign in the Serie A and their run to the Champions League final where they lost to Real Madrid. Dybala is an exceptional talent though frustrating at times, he would be a good addition to the Barcelona ranks as his creativity and understanding with Messi can salvage a chaotic situation for the Spanish team.
**Pictures courtesy Bleacher Report, Talk Sport, Sky Sport, Metro, Golazo Atgentino