The meeting which took place earlier this week between Eric Abidal and Ernesto Valverde was to identify the areas - and players - to strengthen the squad ahead of next season's campaign. The main priority is to add greater quality to the central midfield position and the name at the top of the list is Thiago Alcantara.
The Spanish international ticks all the boxes that Valverde is looking for. He's an established elite player, with plenty of experience but who still has the desire to win more trophies and understands the way Barcelona want to play. Abidal agreed with the coach, as did the Frenchman's right hand man, Ramon Planes.
Now comes the time to work out a deal to make this move happen. Abidal will find himself in a favourable position because Bayern Munich are open to selling Thiago as they look to restructure their own squad this summer, plus the player would jump at the chance of a Barça return.
Things have changed a lot since Thiago left the club in 2013. At that time the club, in the hands of Sandro Rosell, saw the €25m offer for Thiago as a good deal for all parties. The player wanted to play more often and he wasn't a starter because he found himself behind Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas in the pecking order.
Thiago would return now as a key member of the squad and he's someone who wouldn't feel the pressure of performing at the Camp Nou as he's done it many times before. No one can replace Iniesta but Valverde sees Thiago as the best option if Barcelona are to maintain their style without the iconic midfielder.
Bayern are waiting to receive offers for Thiago. The player's father and agent, Mazinho, has sounded out possible teams and the chance of a Barcelona return is the most appealing. Bayern have placed a €70m price tag on the player's head but are willing to negotiate. If a player going the opposite way is included in the deal, such as Lucas Digne, the price could be reduced even further.
Barcelona have found the ideal scenario it seems but there is still one potential fork in the road for this deal to happen. Julen Lopetegui, Real Madrid's new coach, wants to make Thiago his first signing at the club. The two have a long history together with the national team and Lopetegui has asked Florentino Perez to make the deal happen. Mateo Kovacic has announced he wants to leave and Thiago would be his replacement. However, the player prefers a move to Barcelona and that means it's advantage Abidal.