Operation full-back: Bellerin, Cancelo and Mariano on the list

Dani Alves’ departure from Barcelona is set to be confirmed in the coming days and the Catalan club will have to look for a new right-back to complete their squad. The Brazilian leaves a huge gap to cover because Aleix Vidal has not convinced and Sergi Roberto has been an emergency solution. 

Lluis Miguelsanz

The technical team, headed by Robert Fernandez, have narrowed the list down to three names. Portuguese full-back Joao Cancelo, who plays for Valencia, has jumped to the front of the queue in recent hours. Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin and Sevilla’s Mariano complete the list of footballers who have been contacted by Barça. 

The objective this summer was to add two or three players. The absolute priority was and is the signing of a central defender to compete for a starting spot, while Luis Enrique has asked for a fourth forward to complement his attacking trident. But no-one hid the fact there could be another signing in defence on the back of an unwanted exit. And Alves’ goodbye will provoke the arrival of another right-back who can fit into the starting line-up. 

Barça’s plan is find a player who will not cost a huge amount of money, but who can adapt rapidly to the club’s style of play. Bellerin was the perfect candidate. He developed at La Masia and has become a great player at Arsenal, but the Blaugrana arrived too late. His form this season has forced his price up and Arsenal don’t want to sell for less than 40 million euros. 

At the moment, it’s a deal which has been practically discarded because the player himself is not ready to try and force his price down. Bellerin was contacted directly by the club to find out if he would be willing to move and they now know he will not betray Arsenal. The opposite, in fact. He’s renewed his deal and he’s extremely grateful for the opportunity given to him by Arsene Wenger. 

The next on the list is Joao Cancelo. Valencia have put him on the market and Barça have began to look into doing a deal. There’s a good relationship between the clubs and Los Che have spent the last few weeks negotiating for Alen Halilovic. Cancelo’s price is around 20 million euros, but it could be decreased with the inclusion of players. Cristian Tello is also liked by Valencia. Cancelo's rated highly for his attacking ability, as is Mariano. Despite that, though, the Sevilla man will only come into play if Barça can’t get one of their top targets. 



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