Víctor Valdés’ replacement at Barcelona: The contenders

Víctor Valdés will go down in the history book alongside a host of great Barcelona goalkeepers to achieve overwhelming success at the Catalan club over the years.

However, after almost 20 years on the iconic Camp Nou club’s books, the experienced stopper will depart his boyhood side this summer in search of a new challenge.

A graduate of the renowned La Masia youth set-up, the 31-year-old has won six La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues since making his debut for the first-team back in 2002.

However, with his contract expiring in the summer and Valdés admitting that he wants to see pastures new, who are the contenders to replace him in the Blaugrana goal?

Barcelona vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu has admitted that the search has started for Valdes’ successor, with these three sure to be in the club’s thoughts.

Pepe Reina

Pepe ReinaThe Liverpool goalkeeper has been repeatedly linked with a switch to Camp Nou in the past, and is widely acknowledged as one of the frontrunners this time round also.

A slight dip in form last season saw the usually dependable stopper make mistakes on occasion, and as such the powers that be at Anfield decided to replace the Spaniard.

On loan at Napoli this term, Reina has shown consistent form and has played his part in a good start to the season in Serie A and the Champions League for Rafa Benitez’s side.

The only Spaniard on the list and most likely the cheapest of the three options, Reina could well move to Barcelona in the summer.

Marc-André ter Stegen

Marc-André ter StegenWidely acknowledged as one of the brightest goalkeeping prospects in the European game, Ter Stegen has been on the radar since breaking into the Borussia Mönchengladbach first-team back in 2011.

Exhilarating saves and a presence defying his tender years have played their part in Die Fohlen overachieving consistently in recent years. Despite a host of other top goalkeepers in the mix, Ter Stegen has also represented Germany three times in his short career to date.

At 21 years old Ter Stegen still has a fair amount of development to go through, but has all the raw abilities to be a superstar. With Mönchengladbach in no position to defy Barcelona’s financial might, the German would be an exciting addition to the Catalan squad.

Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut CourtoisThe Chelsea goalkeeper has spent the last three years on loan at Atlético Madrid, and as such it is only natural that he has grown slightly detached from his parent club.

Widely acknowledged as one of the best goalkeepers in Spain, the giant Belgian has been a rock at the heart of a defiant Vicente Calderón rearguard in recent times.

With exposure to the Champions League this term and Atleti fighting for the La Liga crown, Courtois is living up to his superstar billing.

Whether Chelsea would be willing to sell remains to be seen, but the player seems comfortable and happy with life in Spain currently and would surely jump at the opportunity to move to Camp Nou.

 

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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