Jasper Cillessen: Should Barca Keep Or Sell?

Ernesto Valverde has already completed the club’s major January signing by landing Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool, but Barcelona’s transfer business may not be complete just yet as one or two faces prepare for a potential Camp Nou exit. While Arda Turan’s departure appears to be a foregone conclusion, the future of backup goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen hangs very much in the balance. Does the Dutchman have a future at the club?

When Cillessen joined from Ajax for €13m in 2016, the confident goalkeeper would’ve backed himself to become the club’s regular number one. After all, Marc-Andre ter Stegen had had to settle for understudy duties up until that point while the sale of Claudio Bravo to Manchester City had opened up the door for a new hero to emerge. Only one could win that war for the gloves; the German gained the high ground almost immediately, and has shown no sign of relenting since.

In fact, a disastrous Liga debut against Alaves shortly after signing remains the Dutch goalkeeper’s only league appearance in 18 months. Despite his obvious talents, the 6ft 1in custodian’s career hasn’t really got started due to being unfancied by both Valverde and predecessor Luis Enrique. While he may have three-and-a-half years remaining on his contract, it looks unlikely that the unlucky No.13 will stick around for too much longer. At 28, the international goalkeeper needs to play.

Experts at Onlinewedden.com believe that his country’s absence from this summer’s FIFA World Cup removes any sense of emergency, suggesting that Cillessen may be happy to wait until the summer. Nonetheless, if the former NEC man wants to resurrect his club career and hold onto the Oranje No.1 jersey, it’s almost certain that he’ll have to seek a new employer. If it can be done in this transfer window, both club and player would be open to hearing those offers.

English club Newcastle have reportedly shown interest in a January swoop, and St James’ Park may be an attractive prospect for Cillessen, who would’ve seen compatriot Tim Krul build a very strong reputation in front of the Toon Army. The Magpies have also been linked to Joe Hart, however, which could put any move for the Dutchman in serious jeopardy.

Meanwhile, a return to Amsterdam seems implausible given the popularity of young Cameroonian Andre Onana. Feyenoord would seem to be the most likely destination in Cillessen’s homeland, especially if the move was to come in the summer due to the age of current goalkeeper Brad Jones.

Wherever Cillessen goes next, it will be a step backwards from Barcelona. Unfortunately for the Dutchman, his stock has dropped massively since the days of being linked as a potential replacement for David De Gea at Manchester United. Still, as per Thesun.com, the outcast has been preparing for a potential departure for some time. Even if it means joining one of the mid-table sides, an opportunity to play first team football in any of the top five leagues could be enough to persuade a departure within the next fortnight. If that doesn’t materialise, the summer is almost guaranteed.

With Adrian Ortola reportedly primed to step up from Barca B to become the first team’s deputising goalkeeper once Cillessen does leave, Valverde won’t be losing any sleep over it either way.