Barcelona are preparing for the strangest market in years but they have done their homework. The club were very active in January and during the lockdown and have closed four signings, with Arthur leaving for big money, too. Now they have two months to move on five or six players and close deals for two players for the new project. The priorities are a striker and a centre-back and they have names: Lautaro Martínez (Inter) and Eric García (Manchester City). In the case that Junior Firpo or Nelson Semedo leave, the club will also look at cheap full-back options.
The Barça squad for next season will bet on youth. The club have already signed Pedri, Trincao, Matheus Fernandes -- who will go out on loan -- and Pjanic, a midfielder with more experience. Aleña will return from his loan and from the B team Araujo, Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati will be promoted. Decisions have not been made on Monchu or Collado. All areas of the pitch have been strengthened pending the two signings, who also have a view to the future. This is where Barça are trying to make the numbers work.
The signing of Lautaro is advanced but lacks the finance and a move for Eric Garcia looks good in an operation which could also mean Semedo leaves the club. For now, there's a lot of caution because not much money is going to be moved in the transfer market as clubs look for more imaginative formulas to achieve their objectives.
Barça have planned for a long time to strengthen in attack with a top-level forward. The pandemic has hit their finances and hampered negotiations, but the club have a deal roughly sewn up for Lautaro if they can find 65-70 million euros. Barça need to sell, therefore. Junior Firpo would also be involved in the operation. Junior signed for cheap to provide competition for Jordi Alba, so another low-cost left-back would have to come in if he left.
A deal for Eric Garcia may be easier. The defender wants to return to Camp Nou for an important role and his contract situation is the key. He is out of contract at Manchester City in 2021. Therefore, City may be obliged to negotiate this summer. They want a right-back. They like Sergi Roberto but Barça would open the door for Semedo, while Joao Cancelo could move in the other direction. Talks will resume after the Champions League.
Neymar's return is more complicated. Everything will be picked up after the Champions League, but this is not the best time to negotiate a massive, almost impossible operation to bring the Brazilian back.