Longtime Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes announced early this season that he will leave Los Blaugranas once his deal expires at the end of this season, and has repeatedly said that he won’t change his mind as his desire is to play in another league to prove himself in another level.
This means that the current La Liga champions need to sign a goalkeeper either on the January transfer window or in June next year at the latest as they don’t have any proven replacement right now. And who could fill Valdes’ shoes at Camp Nou?
The Spainish international has never been considered a top-class keeper like Iker Casillas or Manuel Neuer, but his set of skills, commanding voice and experience were a great fit for the team.
The first characteristic that manager Gerardo Martino needs to look for is international experience. A team full of players who’ve won almost everything surely needs a player that can be respected on goal, so the defenders can feel safe that if there’s a dangerous situation against them, there’s a solid player between the posts.
The other thing needed is the youth. It’s not a bright move if they sign a player who’s over 30-years old as he probably will be around only for a few years, forcing Barcelona to repeat this searching process all over again in a few years.
Last, but certainly not least, Barcelona need a winner — a goalkeeper that can be tested constantly without giving up too many goals, someone that can win games on his own and that has a proven track record despite his age.
Names like Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (Borussia Monchengladbach), Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid) and Pepe Reina (Napoli) have been linked with a move to Camp Nou during the next summer, with the German and the Spaniard being the most probable choices. Courtois is owned by Chelsea and it doesn’t seem likely they would look to sell a quality player to another European contender.
Regardless who they sign, Barcelona needs to step it up on their searching process if they want to continue the European domination they’ve enjoyed in recent years.