Barcelona Rumors: Athletic Bilbao Defender Eyed To Play Backup For Jordi Alba

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Lautaro Martinez and Neymar are labeled as the top transfer targets for Barcelona as the Catalans aim to bolster their scoring weapons. Barca plots their plan to pull off its main summer agenda; and while it focuses more on acquiring offensive superstars, the club management will also try to balance the equation by enhancing its defensive core with the help of Athletic Bilbao’s Yuri Berchiche.

Ernesto Hernandez of Everything Barca stated that the Blaugrana is on the hunt looking for a solid backup to veteran defender Jordi Alba as Junior Firpo is being linked to a package deal that would send him out of Camp Nou.

“One of the reasons they are looking into possibly acquiring a left-back is because Junior Firpo will likely be gone form the club comes next season. He’s been constantly linked as being the player included in a deal with Inter Milan for Lautaro Martinez,” Hernandez wrote.

Citing a report from Mundo Deportivo, Hernandez added that the Spanish footballer has impressed Barca’s scouts with his level of play at the Basque club, doing enough to earn the Catalans’ belief that “he has the level required to play for Barcelona.”

Gaining interest is one thing, but making the actual transfer is another. There could be no doubt about Barcelona wanting Berchiche; however, the defender’s reported transfer fee could be a significant factor in stalling the possible move, especially with the club sitting on a limited budget that is mostly allotted to priority targets.

“Transfer fees are what is scaring clubs like Barcelona away at the moment. So it should be no surprise that Yuri’s release clause is the biggest obstacle to his potential signing,” Hernandez added.

“His release clause is set at €100 million and if he is to leave, Athletic Bilbao is going to want the full release clause paid. They are a tough club to deal with because they generally don’t want to sell their players because of their policy of only playing with Basque players. When one leaves, they have a more difficult time than most in finding a replacement.”

Landing Berchiche would definitely be a sound move for Barca. However, certain restrictions are needed to be considered, and it seems these conditions outweigh the benefits that the Blaugrana could gain from acquiring him.

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