Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique, Alexis Sanchez, Sergio Busquets, Cristiano Ronaldo

After Thiago Silva signs new PSG deal, who can bolster Barcelona’s defense?

Leave a comment

Paris Saint-Germain have finally tied down Brazilian captain Thiago Silva to a new long-term deal.

Cue images of Barcelona walking away in a sulky mood with their tails firmly between their legs.

This time Barca didn’t get their man.

Silva, 28, signed a new five-year deal and his wages were the big stumbling block as Barcelona couldn’t match PSG’s incredible bankroll. So with the cultured defender staying in Paris, Barcelona are edging closer to the La Liga season with a few defensive problems to sort out.

It’s no secret that the Catalan club wanted to strengthen at the back this summer, and so far they’ve struck out.

With Gerardo Martino now in charge, it seems they will step up up their search for a central defender but losing their top target Silva is a big blow.

Right now Barcelona have Gerard Pique as their only fully-fit and recognized center back. Legendary captain Carlos Puyol, 35, is recovering from a knee operation and Javier Mascherano, also injured for long periods, has been converted from holding midfield to play in the heart of Barcelona’s defense.

Apart from those three, Brazilian Adriano Correia has been a reserve for most of his time at the Camp Nou. And then there’s youngster Marc Bartra, who was thrown in to hep with injuries last season. And that’ it.

(MORE: Monday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup, David Luiz to Bayern? Gustavo to Chelsea?)

For a club aiming to win every single competition domestically and in Europe, they need defensive reinforcements, fast.

What about long-term target David Luiz? Reports this morning suggest Chelsea are willing to part ways with the Brazilian defender and he would probably be okay with a move to Barca. The $60 million asking price may put them off, and Bayern Munich are interested too. But Luiz in the Blaugrana would be a site to behold.

Other than Luiz, a few other names spring to mind. How about Dortmund’s Neven Subotic or Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen? Both are massive units we can dominate in the air and in the tackle, but they can also play the passing style Barcelona look to cultivate from the back and all over the pitch.

Those two, in my opinion, would be good fits and would cost nowhere nears as much as Luiz.

But what other options are out there for Barcelona’s new man in charge? There are plenty of young talented defenders in Spain and Portugal but with Champions League success a must this season, an experienced international defender to compliment Pique is needed.

Expect Barca to be busy in the next few weeks… can they tempt Luiz to the Camp Nou?

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)

Wenger lauds team spirit following Arsenal’s big win

Leave a comment

Arsenal put on a superb performance against Manchester United today, flying out to a three-goal lead in the opening 20 minutes of the match.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United ]

United was stunned by the fast-paced, free-flowing Arsenal attack, unable to recover from the Gunners’ early dominance.

All of this came on the heels of a disappointing loss to Olympiacos in the Champions League, after which many questioned manager Arsene Wenger and his side.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s win vs. Manchester United ]

Following the big 3-0 win at the Emirates, Wenger praised his team’s spirit, saying there were outstanding performances throughout the side.

You go from Petr Cech up to Theo Walcott, and we had only outstanding performances. Sometimes we have that magic side in our game.

[Against Olympiacos] maybe we lacked a little bit of urgency and discipline, and that’s why we lost the game. But let’s not forget, last Saturday we won 5-2 at Leicester. Today we beat Man United 3-0.

[The players] have shown that we have an outstanding spirit in the squad. To respond the way we did after what happened to us, you need to have an exceptional spirit.

The Gunners’ performance today immediately silenced all the critics, as Wenger’s side put out on a display that many have been waiting for all season. The combination play of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott was brilliant, as Santi Cazorla continued to impress in the center of the midfield.

Wenger’s teams have not always been known to show strong heart and resiliency, but that’s exactly what they showed today against a Manchester United side that was in great form. Now sitting second on the table, Arsenal continues to climb up the Premier League.