Barcelona want to put 'pressure' on four of their regulars

Pique, Alba, Busquets and Suarez all need more competition

 El uruguayo se quedó solo ante el portero y devolvió el balón a la defensa del Atlético sin quererlo | LALIGA

Javier Giraldo

In contrast to recent seasons, when nearly all signing have had a secondary role, Barcelona are ready to take a step forward this summer and bring in players ready to compete for a starting spot. 

Save cases like Arthur and Coutinho, and to a lesser extent Lenglet, who's filled in for the injured Umtiti, few arrivals have been able to consolidate themselves in the Barça side. 

But the needs of the squad and, above all, the urgency to renew the team after the debacle against Liverpool have seen the Catalans change their stance on signings: the objective is to add players that will start or, at the very least, who are capable of fighting for a spot in the side. 

Pie de foto | AUTOR FOTO

Above all, in four positions on the pitch: centre-back, left-back, defensive midfield and center-forward:

-Gerard PiquE 

The defender has had a sensational season but the club feel a signing of a top-level centre-back (De Ligt is the target) will help him by increasing the competition. Throughout the season, Pique's been a fundamental player, playing nearly every minute in La Liga. 

On the other side, Lenglet and Umtiti have competed for the left centre-back slot, but on the right side, Pique has had no competition. 

Signing De Ligt has become one of the club's main priorities. The Ajax defender's had an excellent season and at 19 is one of the best in the business already. His arrival would represent a huge leap in quality for Barça. As was the case with Ter Stegen, the signing of De Ligt is for the present but, above all, the future. 

-Jordi Alba

The left-back has been one of Barça's best players this season. He admitted it's been one of his best campaigns but it was tainted on the home straight by poor displays against Liverpool and Valencia. 

Alba signed a new deal until 2024 in February. But Barça do want to bring in competition for him and someone who can allow him to rest during the season. The Catalans are looking at Real Betis' Junior Firpo. The Spain U21 international has had a great season and impressed in Betis' 3-4 win at Camp Nou. 

Barça could sign him for 30 million euros, although they could reduce the fee by including the likes of Rafinha or Juan Miranda in the deal. The relationship between the two clubs is good, while Real Madrid have dropped out of the race, instead moving for Lyon's Ferland Mendy. 

-sergio busquets

In contrast to Pique and Alba, Busquets has had an inconsistent season. The midfielder's looked tired at times. However, he is still a regular for Barça and Spain and at Camp Nou he has no backup -- but that could change in the summer. 

In this sense, the already confirmed signing of Frenkie de Jong could help with rotation in the pivote position. De Jong's played as an interior at Ajax but can play deeper, and has done for club and country. 

Even though he doesn't have the same characteristics as Busquets -- the Dutchman, for example, can be more attacking, he drives with the ball -- he's a player that can win the ball back and adapt well to different midfield roles. 

Then there's Ivan Rakitic: the Croatian's experiencing a summer full of rumours because he's one of the players Barça could sell, even though he's one of Valverde's favourites. He still has an excellent reputation around Europe, has performed well this season and would command a decent fee. De Jong could be his natural replacement if (in the end) he leaves. 

-luis suArez

Despite a disappointing end to the season (he didn't score at Anfield and missed the Copa del Rey final), Suarez's numbers were good: he was the second top scorer for Barça and in La Liga, with only Lionel Messi beating him. Suarez is 32 now and Barça are looking for a player for next season in attack. 

It's the most delicate operation of the summer: it's not easy to find the right forward, someone who guarantees goals, works hard and, in addition, will accept the fact Suarez will be the main man for another season alongside Messi. 

There aren't many options on the market. Barça are still thinking of Griezmann, a player that can play across the attack. But his documentary last decision, when he snubbed Barça to stay at Atletico, did not go down well with the Camp Nou dressing room and could now count against him. 

Rodrigo Moreno, the Valencia and Spain forward, is another name on the table. Barça like his profile. He scores, he presses well, wins the ball back and adapts to all three positions in attack. He seems open to leaving Mestalla but Los Che would point to his 120 million clause at first. He could perhaps leave for 60 million in the end, but Barça believe they could do a deal by including goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen. 

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