Barcelona transfer ban: Exits of Victor Valdes and Carles Puyol could cause serious problems

A look at two areas where the Catalan club are in need of reinforcements

Barcelona have been banned from buying or selling players for the next two transfer windows after Fifa sanctioned the club for breaches of the transfers and registrations of players under the age of 18.

With some key players out of contract in the summer, the ban, should it be upheld, could have heavy consequences for Gerardo Martino’s men - who can still appeal the decision.

Below, we investigate which players are set to leave in the summer, and assess how those departures may affect the Catalan side.

CARLES PUYOL

The 35-year-old announced last month that he will leave Barcelona, 15 years and 593 appearances since making his debut in October 1999. Puyol has won six La Liga titles and has lifted the Champions League three times during his richly successful spell at the club, but has struggled with injuries of late.

Where does this leave Barcelona?

Vulnerable in central defence. Gerard Pique and Marc Bartra are the only other natural centre halves in Barca’s squad, though Javier Mascherano and Alex Song can provide cover too.

Rumoured replacements

Reports in Germany have linked Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels with a move to Catalonia in the past and Chelsea’s David Luiz is said to be a target too. However, none will be arriving if the ban is upheld.

VICTOR VALDES

Valdes declared in May last year that the 2013/14 season would be his last at the club. Whether that is still the case now remains to be seen, after the goalkeeper tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a game against Celta Vigo on March 26. Valdes is likely to be out for around seven months - but will any team be prepared to move for a player with such a serious injury when his contract expires this summer?

Victor Valdes holds his head in his hands after picking up a serious knee injury while playing for Barcelona Victor Valdes holds his head in his hands after picking up a serious knee injury while playing for Barcelona  

Where this leaves Barcelona?

With only two recognised goalkeepers - 38-year-old Pinto and Oier Olazabal, who has made just one first-team appearance for the club.

Rumoured replacements

There have been plenty - Pepe Reina, Asmir Begovic, Thibaut Courtois and, most recently, Hugo Lloris have all been linked with Los Cules. Borussia Monchengladbach stopper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is reported to be Barca’s premier target though. Prior to today's announcement, the 21-year-old was widely expected to join the club at the end of this season, with German newspapers claiming that the Germany international had already agreed a long-term deal.

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