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Barcelona’s plan to upgrade left back being put into motion

Spain's Alba fights for the ball with China's Linpeng during their friendly soccer match leading up to Euro 2012 in Seville

Spain’s Jordi Alba (R) fights for the ball with China’s Zhang Linpeng during their friendly soccer match leading up to Euro 2012, in Seville June 3, 2012. REUTERS/Jon Nazca (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

Reuters

Jordi Alba’s return to Barcelona is almost done, with nearly a year’s worth of speculation about to come to an end over the next two days.

The Valencia left back, a one-time Barcelona academy member, is set to move back to the Nou Camp, if Mundo Deportivo is right. According to the Catalan outlet, the two sides are an insignificant distance apart, with a face-to-face meeting between parties within the next two days expected to resolve the difference. According to the report, Valencia has already started looking for replacements, having targeted Roma’s Jose Angel, Espanyol’s Didac Vila, and Rayo Vallecano’s Juan Manuel Casado.

Alba’s a perfect fit for a Barca side that has made do with Adriano at left back since Eric Abidal left the team to undergo a liver transplant. With Abidal unlikely to play for Barcelona again, the team needs a long-term solution. Alba is only 23 years old, is cementing his place in the Spanish national team, and fits perfectly into Barcelona’s system.

After Abidal left the team, left back and goalkeeper were the two positions where Pep Guardiola didn’t have truly world class players. Adriano was a capable replacement, but he also represented a point of improvement. With reports having the Brazilian linking with a move to Juventus (according to Sky Italia), it looks like Barcelona’s about to make that upgrade, allowing the already talent-rich to get much talent-richer.