Barcelona are on the verge of losing their star keeper Victor Valdes either at the end of this season or next. The Spaniard has been the number one at the Nou Camp for over a decade and replacing him is going to be extremely difficult for the club.
It is something they struggled with before Valdes cemented himself as number one at Barca. Replacing Andoni Zubizarreta after he was let go in 1994 was an arduous task. The likes of Carles Busquets, Ruud Hesp, Vitor Baia, Francesc Arnau, Pepe Reina, Richard Dutruel, Roberto Bonano, Robert Enke and Rustu all tried and failed to hold down the spot in a way that Valdes has since he was first given the honour.
So on this occasion the club will want to get it right first time round and while many big names are being linked with the position several factors have to be considered; such as the age of the potentially incoming player and if they have the attributes necessary to play in goal for Barcelona.
So forget the likes of Manuel Neuer or Marc Andre Ter Stegen who are the realistic candidates to replace Valdes long term?
Kenneth Vermeer - Ajax
The 27-year-old caught the eye with his exceptional goalkeeping performances in the Champions League this season and in particular with his excellent ability with the ball at his feet. Ajax are considered to be on the verge of a mini fire-sale this summer so he could be available on the cheap and fits the mould perfectly.
Yann Sommer - FC Basel
If Barca are looking for a goalkeeper with excellent distribution then they should look no further than FC Basel stopper Yann Sommer. The Swiss international has arguably the best ability with the ball at his feet in the world and add to that his excellent shot-stopping abilities and he is a superb option. Currently being courted by Serie A sides Barca could do a lot worse.
Oier Olazabal - Barcelona B
A very likely option is that Barca will promote from within. The 23-year-old is currently first choice for Barcelona’s B side and he could follow in the footsteps of Valdes by earning his stripes.
Joseph Ondoa - Barcelona under-18s
Another young option in the Barcelona ranks is Ondoa. The teenage Cameroonian keeper is one of many promising West African prospects in the Barcelona youth ranks and there is real belief he could one day be a world-class stopper; but will it be too soon for someone so young?
David De Gea - Manchester United
Perhaps the best option and it seems even if the British media are going to get their way then De Gea is going to be on his way out of Manchester. A young Spaniard with all the attributes to be Barca keeper? It seems the perfect option.
Who do you think will replace Victor Valdes?
image: © 3oheme