It is no secret that Barcelona’s goalkeeper Victor Valdes will be leaving the Nou Camp this summer once his contract expires. Valdes has been Barcelona’s number one since 2002 and has racked up 369 league games for the club. The question now remains, though, as to who should replace him. With Barcelona favourites with Betway Sports for La Liga glory this season, it is clearly a choice that needs to be got right. Who might be the best options at the moment?
The Liverpool goalkeeper is currently on loan at Napoli but many had expected him to return to the Nou Camp in the summer just gone. However, with Valdes’ desire to see out his contract, a move never materialised. Reina, who came through the ranks at the club and played first team football for Barcelona, has made no secret of his desire to return. Reina would be a fantastic replacement for Valdes; he is a solid shot stopper and commands the area well. On a trivial note he is the only goalkeeper to save a Mario Balotelli penalty! He would be available on a free and wants to return to the club so a move looks likely. However, he will be 32 next summer and Barcelona may be looking for a younger goalkeeper as they try to plan for the long term.
The young Belgian goalkeeper is currently enjoying his third loan spell at Atletico Madrid from Chelsea. His time in Spain has been very successful, helping Atletico Madrid return to the Champions League and helping them lift the Copa del Rey and Europa League. At only 21-years-old he offers Barcelona the long-term suitability that they are interested in as they start bleeding through their next generation of youth stars. However, his parent club Chelsea will not be too willing to part with the youngster as he is the ideal replacement for current goalkeeper Petr Cech, so any move Barcelona make will have to accompany an extortionate amount of money.
The Chelsea stalwart is another avenue Barcelona may want to explore. With Courtois returning to Chelsea next summer the club have a difficult decision to make: Cech or Courtois? Neither of these goalkeepers can play the role of understudy as they are both too good for that role and Mourinho knows this. If Courtois is chosen then Cech would be available at a cut-price and would surely be extremely interested in a move to Nou Camp.
The current Barcelona B goalkeeper, he would fit the Barcelona mantra of replace from within just like Valdes did when he usurped Argentine goalkeeper Roberto Bonano. At 24-years-old he offers the long term suitability that Barcelona want and he wouldn’t cost the club a penny, meaning that funding a move for a world class defender such as Mats Hummels to replace the aging Carlos Puyol would stay on the cards. Although tenable it would be very surprising if Barcelona opted for Olazabal as he is very inexperienced with only one Barcelona appearance to his name.
Barcelona are blessed that Valdes forewarned them a year ago about his desire to leave, giving the club adequate time to find a replacement. Who that replacement will be only time can tell.