Angel Di Maria of Argentina celebrates by forming a heart with his hands after scoring the goal of 0-2 during the 2022 Finalissima against Italy at Wembley Stadium, London, June 2022.

7 quality free agents Barcelona could sign this summer: Di Maria, Pogba…

Rahul Lakhani •

Barcelona are currently looking for reinforcements for Xavi’s first-team squad, but they find themselves restricted to free transfers amidst their financial troubles. Here are seven that could fit the bill at Camp Nou.

Barca’s debt situation reached boiling point last year when they were forced to let Lionel Messi leave as they could not register him However they still found funds to sign Ferran Torres, Adama Traore and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang in the January window and are looking to add more in this summer’s window.

Barcelona have already agreed deals to sign free agents Franck Kessie from AC Milan and Andreas Christensen from Chelsea and will be in the market for more free agents until they can resolve their financial issues.

Kessie and Christensen cannot yet be registered until they are able to sell or release players from their squad, and the likes of Clement Lenglet, Samuel Umititi, Frenkie De Jong and Martin Braithwaite could all be shown the door this summer.

If the Blaugrana are to close the 13-point gap to Real Madrid, they will need an injection of serious quality. We’ve listed seven free agents they can target to raise the level of their squad.

Paul Pogba

Pogba caused a divide among the Manchester United fanbase since his return to the club in 2016 and has confirmed that he will leave the club on a free transfer for the second time.

His consistency and attitude have been called into question a lot but there is no denying his ability, and the 29-year-old could become a valuable asset in midfield should Barcelona move for the French World Cup winner.

Wages may be an issue but landing a player of that quality without a transfer fee could prove to be a bargain, and Barcelona could squeeze three or four years out of him yet.

Should Frenkie De Jong depart this summer, Pogba could be the ideal replacement in their midfield.

Paulo Dybala

A relatively small, technical, left-footed Argentine forward at Barcelona. Where have we heard this one before?

Dybala is set to leave Juventus on a free transfer and has been linked with a move to Spain for years on end, but with Inter reportedly keen on the 28-year-old, it would take some convincing to persuade the striker to leave Italy.

The forward even spoke about Barcelona’s interest two years ago, but it was an entirely different prospect with Messi at the club.

“The truth is that Barcelona is huge team worldwide and with Messi there, even bigger,” Dybala told CNN in 2020.

“It would be very nice, but Juventus is also an incredible club, very big, full of history, where there are currently great players.

Dybala does have history against Barca…

Angel Di Maria

Even at the age of 34, Di Maria has shown that he is still up there with the world’s best players at PSG, but he lost his starting spot when Messi arrived in Paris.

This would be the most controversial transfer on this list due to the Argentine’s history with Real Madrid. Di Maria left the Santiago Bernabeu in 2014 after winning the Champions League and is still held in high regard at the club.

Joining Barcelona would tarnish his Madrid legacy, but he would be an excellent short-term option to replace Messi’s creativity, while also injecting some experience into a team with more and more La Masia graduates in it.

“My relationship with Madrid is finished because my cycle there ended. Frankly, I wouldn’t have a problem to play at Barca, to the contrary,” Di Maria stated in 2017 when he was linked with a move back to Spain.

“I was close to joining Barcelona in the summer and yet far away at the same time,” he added. “It is hard to complete moves to these clubs. I never lost hope of it going through but in the end, it didn’t happen.”

Christian Eriksen

One of football’s great comeback stories, Eriksen recovered from his heart issue which nearly ended his career and returned to the Premier League with Brentford.

The Danish star proved that he still has quality in abundance, and, with his Brentford deal expiring, he has been linked with a number of top clubs, including a return to Tottenham.

Barcelona could do worse than offering a short term deal to the 30-year-old, and their young stars such as Pedri will have an experienced, top-class midfielder to learn from.

Christian Eriksen celebrates scoring for Bretford against Chelsea. Stamford Bridge, London, 2 April 2022.

READ: Forget the narrative… Eriksen ruined Kante with two touches of 24K gold

Federico Bernadeschi

The Italian winger has struggled with Juventus of late, and after failing to agree a deal to stay in Turin, he looks set to leave.

The 28-year-old could provide valuable depth as Barcelona look to compete on multiple fronts next season, possibly without Ousmane Dembele, who looks set to leave.

A winger capable of playing across the attacking line, the deal would not be a difficult one to complete and the Italian would add Champions League experience to an attack which has struggled for consistency since Messi departed.

Adnan Januzaj

Like Bernadeschi, Januzaj would be a depth signing for the attack, and the Belgian is available having failed to agree a deal to stay at Real Sociedad.

The 27-year-old attacking midfielder was once the biggest prospect at Manchester United, and while he never truly lived up to his vast potential, Januzaj is experienced in La Liga and could provide quality off the bench on a low cost, low-risk deal.

Alessio Romagnoli

AC Milan’s captain and now a Serie A winner, Romagnoli lost his regular starting position after the arrival of Fikayo Tomori. But the 27-year-old remains a reliable, experienced centre-back who is, importantly, available for free.

With Gerard Pique ageing, Lenglet failing to impress and Umititi constantly injured, depth at the back is vital, and Romagnoli’s ability to cover at left-back makes him a very interesting option.

However, the Italy international has been linked with a move to Lazio, while he could still agree a new deal to keep him at San Siro. But the lure of Barcelona and a fresh start in Spain could tempt the defender to Camp Nou.

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