It would be impossible for Barcelona to make a bigger transfer deal this summer after they acquired striker Luis Suarez, but the Catalans are well aware that simply loading your squad with stars doesn’t guarantee success the following term.
Rather, Barcelona are deftly tracking one player, who might not be viewed as a splash acquisition, but could greatly complement the squad as currently constructed, and make Suarez even more lethal in the attack alongside Lionel Messi.
According to Spanish news outlet Marca, the Catalans are in contention with Manchester United for the services of Fiorentina and Colombia winger Juan Cuadrado. The 26-year-old greatly increased his market value after helping Los Cafeteros reach the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time with one goal and four assists, acting as facilitator and in simpatico with hero James Rodriguez.
However, the Catalans have hit a snag for the player that could feed Suarez and Messi along the wings, while allowing the latter more breathing room on the pitch. Marca’s report stresses that both Barcelona and United don’t want to pay the Serie A club’s asking price of £32 million, while Daily Mail puts Fiorentina’s demands at £39.5 million. The Mail also cited Cuadrado’s agent, as saying negotiations with Barcelona have “stalled.”
"We have had no official bids for Cuadrado,” Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade said during an interview with Sky Sport 24.
"However it would be very difficult to refuse an offer of €50m (£40m).
"We hope he will stay with us but I must say how things are."
Whatever the cost might be, Cuadrado’s recent and previous successes should be proof enough for Barcelona to pursue the deal. For the last five years, Cuadrado has appeared in 121 matches and scored 19 goals, 16 of which came in the last two terms with Fiorentina. The season before Cuadrado arrived in Florence, Fiorentina was coming off a dreadful 13th place finish in Serie A. But since then, they’ve finished in fourth for two straight years and qualified for Europa League.
It’s a fact Fiorentina are certainly aware of, and that knowledge is reflected in their demands. Under contract until 2017, Cuadrado’s value rose to £28 million. Fiorentina are likely afraid off dropping back again in Serie A without him, and a massive transfer fee would be enough to cushion the fall.
Barcelona might just be experiencing sticker shock, especially when Cuadrado would cost more than the recent acquisitions of Jeremy Mathieu, Ivan Rakitic and likely Marc-Andre ter Stegen combined. Nevertheless, Cuadrado could quickly dispel those doubts at the start of La Liga next month.