Who will Barça sign to help them match the success of 2017-2018?

"Penya Barcelona @ Berlin" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Libertinus 

The 2017-2018 La Liga season has been a good one for Barça. Despite losing the goals of Neymar, the club has shown its class, successfully moving on through a strategy that continues to celebrate the footballing heritage witnessed for years inside Camp Nou. Of course, it helps when you have the brilliance of Lionel Messi.

The club’s season has seen the team rekindle an unstoppable attacking prowess that faulted enough to allow rivals Real Madrid to win the title last year. Now Barça march towards the La Liga title with an impressive domestic unbeaten run.

The Camp Nou club has had to show its mettle. The loss of Neymar to Paris St. Germain took away goal power up front, while Real Madrid’s success the previous year added pressure on new manager Ernesto Valverde to bring back title-winning glory.

But adversity brings out the best in the world’s greatest football teams. Indeed, while Valverde’s style of play may irk some fans wishing for a return to the days of Pep Guardiola, his more defensive-minded approach, built at times around a 4-4-2 formation, has delivered league and cup success. It’s also seen Barça enjoy a long unbeaten run.

"Camp Nou" (CC BY 2.0) by Jonathan Vitela 

And, with the goals still flowing, the club’s more direct style of football is proving to be just as effective. Instead of former managers Guardiola and Luis Enrique’s tiki-taka and without the big name of Neymar around the dressing room, Barça might actually look better than ever as Messi and Luis Suarez lead the frontline as the club’s top goal scorers.

The fans, of course, want more. Which means a single season’s return to the top of La Liga is not good enough. Barça has always demanded a sort of perfection other clubs have tried but failed to emulate. So, who could the Camp Nou club look to buy in the off-season? Recently, La Liga betting odds have been slashed on Antoine Griezmann joining the club while others such as Bayern Munich defender David Alaba are on the club’s radar.

Griezmann would be a good fit for Barça. He’s confident in the limelight, is a hard worker, and possesses the skill to enjoy success at Camp Nou. He’s young enough to give the club many years of service as well. His goals would also take some of the pressure off current forwards Suarez and Messi, who have scored the bulk of Barça’s goals this season.

An alternative would be Robert Lewandowski, who appears to be in the shop window. He’s a proven goal-scoring talent but his best years may be behind him. Even if he did prove to be a success at Camp Nou, it would be a short-term plan. He might be easier – and cheaper – to acquire, however, as Griezmann has many suitors. If neither becomes available, some believe Neymar will make a stunning return because he’s allegedly unhappy in Paris.

While the midfield may be boosted by the arrival of Koke from Athletico Madrid, defence is an area coach Valverde will seek to bolster. His efforts may be dictated by current players and their contract negotiations but insiders suggest Barça’s shopping list includes Chelsea wing-back Marcos Alonso and Toulouse defender Issa Diop as well as Schalke’s Thilo Kehrer and Sevilla’s Clement Lenglet.

Whoever Barça sign, the club’s rapid transition from tiki-taka and a below-par season looks to continue, with silverware still the end result. The traditions of the club won’t change with a new, more direct style of play. Camp Nou is still all about on-field success. And any new players Valverde acquires are sure to continue that heritage.