Barcelona: Eric Abidal wants to continue upgrading the midfield by signing Thiago

Thiago is seen as a necessary addition to deal with the departure of Andres Iniesta by the technical secretary.

Barcelona have brought in Arthur Melo to improve the midfield, but Abidal also wants to sign Thiago due to the immediate impact he could have on the side, according to Sport. Ernesto Valverde and Abidal see Thiago as the best way to properly replace Iniesta.

The Spanish international is available for 70 million euros this summer due to new manager Niko Kovac not seeing him as a major part of his plans. He appears to favour a more direct style, which utilises vertical play to quickly move up the pitch rather than progressing slowly through a possession-based approach.

His Eintracht Frankfurt side also pressed high without the ball in order to stifle opposition build-up and congest space. Therefore, Thiago isn’t his ideal kind of midfielder, and there are a plethora of options already at the club such as James Rodriguez, Leon Goretzka and Arturo Vidal who are better fits.

Thiago’s La Masia education naturally means that he would be a good fit at the club due to his vast understanding of their style. Valverde has made a few tactical tweaks, but the basic principles are the same. Next season could see him shift to a traditional 4-3-3 formation after using a 4-4-2 formation last season in order to get the best out of the resources at his disposal.

The midfield is lacking a player who can control a game at the top level. Sergio Busquets already has the task of acting as a link between the defence and the rest of the team. Arthur has the potential to fill that role, but it would be a lot to ask for a 21-year-old who has no experience in Europe. Lionel Messi has filled that role over the past few seasons along with acting as playmaker and chief goalscorer. Therefore, there is a desperate need for a player of Thiago’s ability.

He is the kind of player they need to bring in if they want to mount a major assault on the Champions League. The success in 2015 has been followed by three consecutive quarter-final exits, with the latest against Roma being quite humiliating. In that time, Real Madrid have taken advantage to extend their amount of titles to 13. Zinedine Zidane’s departure means they are weakened in the short-term, so this is a perfect opportunity for the Catalans.

His availability for a set price is another advantage, so the club can plan accordingly financially. 70 million euros is a cheap price for someone of his experience and ability. Abidal’s appointment could prove to be a masterstroke if he helps convince the board to bring in Thiago.