The dust is yet to settle on Neymar’s world record €222 million (approx Rs.1679 crore) transfer to Paris Saint-Germain but Barcelona are wasting no time in identifying the Brazilian’s replacement. 

After scoring and assisting a total of 185 goals and assists in just 186 games during his three seasons at the Nou Camp, the 25-year-old has left a gaping hole in La Blaugrana’s forward line, of that there is no doubt. 

The past two seasons have seen Barcelona’s arch-rivals Real Madrid dominate the UEFA Champions League. The club board, now, will be under pressure to make a marquee signing as they seek to set new coach Ernesto Valverde’s reign off to a auspicious start. 

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)

According to majority of reports, Liverpool’s Brazilian magician has been Barcelona’s No.1 transfer target even before his compatriot jumped ship. And with Neymar’s money swelling their already considerable coffers, a mammoth bid to prise the 25-year-old Coutinho is expected in the next few days. 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has repeatedly stated that Coutinho is not for sale, but we all know that in modern-day football such comments can't be taken at face value. 

Reportedly, the Reds have rejected two bids for their twinkle-toed midfielder, but should Barcelona bid near the €100 million mark, Klopp’s resolve not to sell will be sorely tested. 

The Liverpool man isn’t a like-for-like replacement for Neymar, but he could add some quality to a midfield that was found wanting at times last season. 

Valverde is said to be mulling a 4-2-3-1 formation and Coutinho could easily slot in that system alongside Lionel Messi with Luis Suarez leading the line.

Transfer Possibility: High
Expected Fee: €100 million (Approx Rs.756 crore)

Ousmane Dembele (Borussia Dortmund)

After Coutinho, Dembele’s name is the one that crops up the most. The 20-year-old Frenchman had quite the debut season with Die Borussen, prompting speculation that he could be on his way to the Nou Camp.

A player in similar vein to Neymar, Dembele has plenty of pace and trickery along with a keen eye for goal which has earmarked him as a talent to watch out for. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a Dortmund teammate, dropped a major hint of a potential move to the Catalan side when he re-tweeted an old interview of the Frenchman in which Dembele declared his dream club was Barcelona. 

However, after signing Dembele from Rennes for €15 million in 2016, Dortmund would be reluctant to sell and unlikely to settle for a figure less than €90 million. Whether Barcelona will be willing to part with so much money for a 20-year-old remains to be seen.

Transfer Possibility: High
Expected Fee: €90 million (Approx Rs.680 crore)

Kylian Mbappe (AS Monaco)

Real Madrid were, till last week, favourites to sign Europe’s hottest prospect, but now armed with a huge war chest, Barcelona are among the front-runners as well.

Mbappe’s playing style may be drastically different from Neymar’s, but it is undoubtedly effective as his past season with Monaco proved (26 goals and 14 assists in all competitions).

Blessed with sizzling pace, mazy dribbling skills and a cool head in the offensive third, Mbappe’s talents will cost a staggering sum, regardless of whether Barcelona or Real come calling.

The 18-year-old is versatile, but the fact that he is best utilised as a centre-forward will cause a dilemma for Valverde, considering he already has Luis Suarez in that position.

The player reportedly wants to leave, but is yet to reveal his preferred choice between the La Liga giants and it may just come down to his whim, with money not being an issue for once. 

However, the fact remains that Mbappe has had just one full season in senior football and to spend a massive outlay on a teenager would be a huge risk.

Transfer Possibility: Moderate
Expected Fee: €190 million (Approx Rs.1437 crore)

Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

After the Belgian broke his ankle and subsequently had it operated on in June, Barcelona (and Real Madrid’s) interest in the Chelsea winger cooled.

However, Neymar’s transfer has left them scrambling for replacements and Hazard is one of their leading transfer targets once again. Among the finest dribblers in world football, Hazard has come good on the early promise he showed at Ligue 1 side Lille.

Madrid have courted him in the past, but staying at Stamford Bridge has been a wise choice, where the 26-year-old has established himself as one of the best talents the Premier League has to offer. 

His injury isn't serious and while he is expected to return to the pitch by mid-September, it could put off the Catalans, for one season at least, especially with Chelsea willing to consider selling after Barca put in a bid north of €100 million.

Transfer Possibility: Moderate
Expected Fee: €120 million (Approx Rs.907 crore)

Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)

Manchester United were interested in signing Atletico’s brilliant Frenchman, but the fact that the Rojiblancos are under a transfer embargo scuttled any potential blockbuster deal. 
 
Barcelona, however, are a different matter altogether (without any disrespect meant to United) and the thought of the 26-year-old playing in a attack trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez is an exciting prospect indeed. 

The biggest roadblock in preventing Griezmann from linking up with the likes of Suarez and Messi is that the French winger just inked a long-term contract in June with a reported €200 million buyout clause inserted. 

With La Blaugrana, be prepared to shell out so much for Griezmann? 

It all depends on who Ernesto Valverde wants first and if that player is available or not. For the closer the transfer window deadline nears, the more Barcelona are likely to get desperate. 

Transfer Possibility: Remote
Expected Fee: €200 million (Approx Rs.1512 crore)

Paulo Dybala (Juventus)

Last, but certainly not the least, touted as Messi’s heir in their native Argentina, 23-year-old Dybala has the world at his feet.

A highlight of his sparkling 2016-17 season was his performance in the first leg of Juve’s Champions League quarterfinal tie against the Catlans, for the left-footer scored a masterly brace to set the Bianconeri on their way to a famous 3-0 win.

His ability to beat a man with effortless guile and then assist a teammate or score himself is a sight to behold and along with Messi and co, could wreak havoc on opposition defences. 

However, like Griezmann above, Dybala just signed a long-term contract earlier in 2017 and the odds are low that the Argentine could be persuaded to make a switch this summer. 

However, never say never, as Barcelona are willing to splash the cash.

Transfer Possibility: Remote
Expected Fee: €150 million (Approx Rs.1134 crore)