Everything seems to have gone quiet on the Bernardo Silva front, but that doesn’t mean the Barcelona management team aren’t working hard to solidify the team ahead of the La Liga kickoff this weekend against Getafe.
According to reports in AS, Barcelona are now looking at Pablo Maffeo with the Mallorca defender seen as the best low-cost option, with the fee expected to be between €6-€8 million.
With Franck Kessie having left for Saudi Arabia and the 49% Barca Studios sale close to being completed, Barca has some wiggle room under the La Liga financial fair play regulations. Although the first task will be registering players, Barcelona only has 12 players officially registered with the league.
The right-back situation has caused a lot of indecision within the Barcelona ranks, but the team may not be coming to the realisation that Xavi’s top two targets are unachievable.
The Barca manager singled out Argentinian Juan Foyth and Portuguese man Joao Cancelo as his top two targets, but both will cost over €50 million. Villareal won’t budge from the €54 million release clause and Manchester City want over €50 million for Cancelo, and won’t consider a loan move with the obligation to buy, which was the strategy of Deco and Mateu Alemany.
Ivan Fresneda is the other name that continues to be linked with Barca. Alemany spent two hours with his agent yesterday after Barca had an €18 million bid rejected for the 18-year-old. But the talk around management groups has centred around Fresneda never achieving a consensus.
It’s believed that Xavi wants a more defensively focused right-back to balance the side, which makes sense when you consider how aggressive Alejandro Balde is getting forward. Fresneda is a good defender, but he’s inexperienced.
At 26 years of age, Maffeo has 128 La Liga appearances under his belt and also has some experience in Germany with Stuttgart.
While he doesn’t have the same kind of potential as Fresneda, he’s certainly more comfortable in terms of his defensive work and positioning and may be the ideal candidate to act as a bridge for someone like Fresneda if both could be brought in.
It’s not outside the realms of possibility that Fresneda and Maffeo could join with the young Valladolid man being loaned straight back out to gain some more La Liga experience. Barca could purchase both for less than it would cost to bring in someone like Foyth or Cancelo.
It’s almost certainly too late in the day for Sunday, so expect to see centre-back Ronald Araujo lined up there against Getafe.