Frenkie de Jong’s Barcelona Shirt Number Is Revealed as Midfielder Settles into Life at Camp Nou

?Frenkie de Jong will wear the number 21 shirt at Barcelona this season, as La Masia graduate Carles Alena switches to number 19.

The Dutchman occupied the squad number throughout his four-year association with the Amsterdam side, and wearing it, he earned himself iconic status, helping his side to an Eredivisie title and a Champions League semi-final before leaving for a club-record fee. 

Keen to carry it with him as an homage to his days in the Dutch capital, the number was already occupied by Alena upon his arrival at Camp Nou, but it seems as if the 21-year-old was happy  to adjust to accommodate. 

As per a ?club announcement, Alena has taken the number 19, which was held by Kevin-Prince Boateng last season, in order to free up 21 for De Jong, 

The midfielder becomes the ninth player to don the number 21 since permanent squad numbers came into effect in 1995, with esteemed names such as Luis Enrique and Lilian Thuram having made it famous during their playing careers.

?Alena, meanwhile, takes the number that one Lionel Messi wore prior to inheriting the number ten from Ronaldinho, while it was also famously worn by Patrick Kluivert, another Ajax alumnus. 

Ronaldinho,Lionel Messi

In other ?Barcelona squad numbering news, Antoine Griezmann will wear the number 17, while incoming goalkeeper Neto takes 13. 

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Transfer Rumours: Belotti to West Ham, Everton to Arsenal, Firpo to Barcelona and More

?As a wise man once said, we’re in the endgame now.

We have less than a month until competitive football recommences, and while some clubs are ahead of the game with their transfer business, there are others who are yet to even start re-shaping their squad for the season to come.

The window is in full swing and the deals are rolling in, so here is your daily dose of rumour-y goodness to keep you ticking over.


West Ham Submit Eye-Watering Offer for Andrea Belotti

Andrea Belotti

?West Ham are seemingly hell-bent on finding a new attacking talisman to fill the void left by Marko Arnautovic since the Austrian’s departure for China. Long-term target Maxi Gomez is no longer an option after signing for Valencia, with Sebastian Haller, Callum Wilson and Salomon Rondon among the alternatives who have been touted over the last couple of weeks. 

Reports in Italy have thrown another name into the already-bustling hat, however, as Tuttosport claim (per ?Calcio Mercato) that they submitted a €60m offer for Torino striker Andrea Belotti, only to have it immediately thrown out by the Serie A side. 

The 25-year-old’s 17 goals helped them qualify for the Europa League last season, albeit via a technicality, so they are in no rush to sell. There is no word on whether West Ham will return with an improved offer as yet. 


Everton to Undergo Arsenal Medical

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These confusing headlines are getting a bit old, aren’t they? For the avoidance of doubt, we’re referring to the Gremio winger, who has been heavily linked with a move to Unai Emery’s side over the last few weeks. 

?The Gunners’ interest had previously seemed some way from being concrete, with the Brazilian side firmly denying any talks had taken place, but reports from Brazil have moved the story forward, claiming that the 23-year-old is set to undergo a medical at the Emirates. 

It comes from ?Radio Grenal, who add that new sporting director Edu, who worked with Everton in the Brazil set-up, has been instrumental to moving the deal forward.


Barcelona ‘Best Positioned’ to Land Junior Firpo Amid Premier League Interest

?Barcelona have moved into pole position in the pursuit of Real Betis left-back Junior Firpo, with a move to the Premier League now looking increasingly unlikely for the 22-year-old. 

Firpo had been touted as the solution to Liverpool’s left-back troubles, while also popping up on the radar of Arsenal, Manchester United and other English sides, but Gerard Romero of Spanish outlet Esports believes Barcelona have become firm favourites to meet his €40m release clause and get a deal over the line. 

Long-term Jordi Alba replacement, do we think?


Everton’s Approach for Diego Costa in Jeopardy

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?Everton’s hopes of landing Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa have been dashed, as Brazilan side Flamengo are reported to have joined the race for his signature.

Costa re-joined Atletico from Chelsea for £60m back in January 2018, but endured a season mired with injury and controversy, and with Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata available to Diego Simeone next season, Costa is believed to have been told he can leave.

Everton (yes, the team this time) had been one of many sides strongly linked with a move for him, but ?ESPN in Brazil say that Flamengo have entered the fray – with the only holdup over a potential move being their reluctance to meet his £150,000 per week salary demands. 

This would be less of an issue for the Toffees, so they may yet use their financial might to out-muscle the Brazliians in the tussle for the 30-year-old. 


AC Milan Join Race for Jean Michael Seri

ean Michael Seri

It’s funny how a year can fundamentally transform the perception of a player. 12 months ago, Seri was an extremely highly-rated midfielder, and a coup £25m signing for a Fulham side who seemed a shoe-in to establish themselves in the Premier League.

One year and one absolutely disastrous season later, however, the 27-year-old looks set to jump from the sinking ship at Craven Cottage with his reputation damaged after failing to make an impact. 

It does seem, though, as if he will be given at least one more crack at the big-time. The Express report that AC Milan have joined Roma, Inter and Napoli in pursuit of the Frenchman, though it’s unclear what sort of fee Fulham would accept for his services.

He has ‘one-year loan to get him off the wage bill while they attempt to bounce back from the Championship at the first time of asking’ written all over him, doesn’t he? 


Roma to Offer Gonzalo Higuain Captain’s Armband

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Another one here involving Roma, as the club are reportedly prepared to controversially offer the captain’s armband up to Gonzalo Higuain in a bid to lure him to Rome from Juventus. 

The Argentine endured a difficult introduction to the Premier League last season, but remains one of the most clinical strikers in Serie A, and with the Argentine looking as if he will struggle for game-time under Maurizio Sarri at Juventus – with Cristiano Ronaldo, Mario Mandzukic and Moise Kean all contesting the number nine role – it looks as if he could finally depart permanently. 

Corriere dello Sport report (via ?Football Italia) that Roma hold a strong interest in the 31-year-old, and are prepared to break from their tradition of giving the armband to home-grown players in order to convince him to sign. 


AC Milan Set for Talks With Fabian Schar

Fabian Schar

Oh to be a Newcastle fan. Perez has gone, Rondon isn’t coming back, and now it seems as if Fabian Schar could be the next senior player to join Rafa Benitez in getting out of dodge, as reports claim AC Milan are keen to offer the centre-back an exit route. 

The 27-year-old was one of the Magpies’ most consistent performers in an indifferent season last term, having joined from Deportivo La Coruna a year ago, making 24 league appearances in total despite playing just once in their opening ten matches. 

According to the ?Northern Echo, however, his stay on Tyneside could be short-lived, as Milan have already held preliminary talks with the player’s representatives after seeing their interest in Dejan Lovren rebuffed, and could make a concrete approach for the Swiss international as soon as this week. 


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Exclusive Neymar Interview Stolen as Brazilian Finally Engages in PSG Talks

An exclusive interview Neymar conducted with Brazilian tv show ‘Aqui na Band’ has been stolen from the production team’s car, having been scheduled to appear on Monday night.

The saga of Neymar’s mooted return to Barcelona took another turn over the weekend, when quotes emerged of the 26-year-old claiming his best memory as a footballer was the 6-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain when he was a Barca player.

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He explained: “My best memory as a footballer? When we won against PSG with Barcelona. What we felt when we scored the sixth goal I never felt something like this, it was incredible.”

And, as reported by AS, it now appears that recordings from a subsequent interview regarding 

the player’s ‘future plans’ have been stolen from the boot of the UOL Esporte car. The interview was scheduled to be broadcast on Monday night, though this has now been put under threat.

Journalist Joao Paulo Vergueiro, who interviewed the player, explained: “They stole all the memory cards with the Neymar interview where the player discussed in depth his future plans.”

However, fellow production company ‘Oh My Goal’ have now reached out to UOL on Twitter, claiming: “Our camera kept on rolling during your interview with Neymar. We have the whole stolen footage if you want us to send it to you?”

The news comes after the Brazilian finally returned to Europe on Monday morning to meet with current side Paris Saint-Germain about his situation. The meeting, which is said to have lasted three hours, was with the club’s sporting director Leonardo, and had a mood that has been described as ‘icy’, according to Sport.

The club have opened proceedings against the player for his week-long absence from pre-season training, though the player did not return to training on Monday, nor did he undergo his mandatory medical assessment. For what it’s worth, Neymar has maintained he was given permission to miss this week by former sporting director Antero Henrique, and some have claimed he officially told the club of his desire to leave during the meeting.

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Former Barcelona Coach Admits Letting Takefusa Kubo Join Real Madrid Is ‘Biggest Mistake’ in Years

Former Barcelona coach Joan Vila has insisted that allowing Japanese wonderkid Takefusa Kubo to join Real Madrid this summer is one of the club’s biggest mistakes in years.

The 18-year-old, who is widely viewed as one of the most exciting youngsters around, completed a move to Los Blancos this summer after Barcelona rejected the chance to sign him.

However, speaking to ?AS, Vila insisted that ?Barcelona should never have allowed Kubo to join ?Real, claiming: “Letting Kubo go and join Real Madrid was Barça’s biggest mistake in quite some time.”

Another coach added: “He was destined to be a first-team player. He had unbelievable potential because he had an impressive talent alongside a great work ethic and discipline.”

Kubo initially joined Barcelona’s academy back in 2011, but was forced to leave the club in 2015 after Barcelona were found guilty of breaching FIFA’s youth transfer regulations, as he would have been unable to play for the team.

Takefusa Kubo

He returned to Japan with FC Tokyo, before striking a deal with Real earlier this summer. Barcelona were given the chance to re-sign him, but opted to reject the deal amid concerns over Kubo’s agent fees.

Barcelona were desperate to sign him in 2011, and they were devastated to lose him as a result of their FIFA punishment. However, they opted to pass up on the opportunity to sign him again, allowing Real to capitalise.

Takefusa Kubo

The 18-year-old recently made his debut for the Japanese national team, featuring in all three of the side’s Copa America games. He is seen as one of the finest prospects to emerge from Japan, and has been tipped for stardom since he was eight years old.

He has joined up with Real’s academy side, but there is a belief that Kubo may be able to force his way into the senior setup in the near future.

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Antoine Griezmann ‘Very Disappointed’ by Atletico’s Response to Barcelona Transfer

?The lawyer of Antoine Griezmann has revealed the Frenchman’s disappointment towards his former side Atletico Madrid, who have threatened legal action after his €120m move to Barcelona.

Los Rojiblancos have insisted that Barcelona ?should have paid his initial €200m release clause, as Griezmann’s agreement with the club is said to have been reached before his clause dropped to €120m in July.


Speaking to ?L’Equipe, Griezmann’s lawyer, Sevan Karian, has revealed that the situation has taken its toll on the 28-year-old.

He said: “Antoine is very disappointed with the attitude shown by ?Atletico and the club’s hierarchy. They are acting in bad faith and are communicating the opposite of what they told him in person.

“But let them do as they see fit, we will do the same if necessary. For the moment, for [Griezmann], he only wants to think about this new chapter in his career. He wants to celebrate this weekend by discovering his new home.”

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Atletico have accused ?Barcelona of tapping up Griezmann and reaching an agreement to sign the striker back in March, when his release clause was still €200m. 

President Enrique Cerezo even told ?RAC1 that they have evidence to back up their claims, adding that they were disappointed by Griezmann’s conduct throughout the whole saga.


With Los Rojiblancos pursuing legal action against Barcelona, the La Liga champions must now decide whether they are prepared to pay the additional €80m which Atletico are demanding. However, it is thought that the entire debate could reach the Spanish Supreme Court, with Barcelona likely to reject their appeal.

Barcelona are yet to respond to Atletico’s claims, and they are set to present Griezmann to the fans at Camp Nou on Sunday evening.

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Neymar Aims Dig at PSG Claiming Barcelona’s 6-1 Win Over Les Parisiens Is ‘His Best Football Memory’

?Neymar has added more fuel to the rumours linking him with a return to Barcelona by claiming that La Blaugrana’s 6-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 is his best footballing memory.

Two years on from his record move to PSG, Neymar appears to be unsettled and has been heavily linked with a return to his former employers this summer – despite having already secured the signing of Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.

Neymar Jr.

Following on from the recent controversy which involved his failure to return to pre-season training, ?Neymar was asked to reveal his best football memory in an interview with Oh My Goal and he was sure to aim a thinly-veiled dig at PSG.

“My best memory as a footballer? When we won against PSG with ?Barcelona,” he said (via ?The Mirror). “What we felt when we scored the sixth goal I never felt something like this, it was incredible.”

He then added: “Best memory in the locker room? Ah, I don’t know.

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“Well, when we won against PSG with Barcelona it was completely… we all went crazy afterwards! I believe it was the best possible feeling for all of us.”

Neymar has also gone on the offensive on social media, as he recently posted a video of himself on his Instagram story where he is clearly seen wearing a Barcelona shirt.

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The video is also accompanied by a passage from the Bible’s Book of Isaiah, which appears to hit out at the Brazilian’s numerous critics.

In full, the passage reads: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper. And every tongue which rises against you in judgement. You shall condemn.”

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Antoine Griezmann Aiming to ‘Win Everything’ With Barcelona Following €120m Atletico Switch

?New Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann is hoping to ‘win everything’ with La Blaugrana after completing his long-awaited move from Atletico Madrid.

The Frenchman has been at the centre of speculation linking him with a switch away from the Spanish capital for much of his time with Los Rojiblancos, eventually joining Barça for €120m in early July. 

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Having only won the Europa League, Supercopa de España and UEFA Super Cup in his five-year spell with Atleti, the 28-year-old is now looking to expand his collection of silverware.

?Barcelona were in the hunt for a superb treble as 2018/19 came to a close, yet fell to a stunning ?Liverpool fightback in the ?Champions League as they crashed out of Europe in the semis, before Valencia secured a 2-1 victory in their Copa del Rey decider.

Nevertheless, the club earned their eighth ?La Liga title in 11 years and are regular contenders for major honours, whilst ?Atletico are often billed as the dark horses.

Discussing his move to Catalonia during an unveiling at the club’s superstore, Griezmann said (as quoted by Marca): “I am very happy, very excited and eager to work with the team.

Here, I have new challenges, new targets and hopefully I can do it in the best possible way. The target is to win everything, including the Copa del Rey, La Liga Santander and the Champions League.

I spoke with Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembele, with whom I am friends, and I want to have fun with them,” the striker explained. “I wanted to come here and my family followed me.

“Sometimes, you have to make decisions and it’s a joy to play by [Lionel Messi’s] side. I want to know what it is like on a day-to-day basis and in training.

“This is a great club and I want to work with my teammates and for the coach, have fun outside and on the field and hopefully bring a lot of joy and enjoy it together.”

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Why Re-Signing Neymar from PSG Is a Step in the Wrong Direction for Barcelona

Almost every football fan has loved a Brazilian star at some point in their lifetime. Ronaldinho, Adriano, Ronaldo, Romario, Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Zico, Pele, the list is pretty much endless.

An unfortunate theme which runs through the more recent Brazilian superstars, is that their stars not only burn the brightest, but they burn the quickest too. 

The fear is that, just as with Adriano, Kaka and Robinho, history is repeating itself once more.

??With news that ?Neymar is refusing to report back for training, Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has seemingly open the door for the forward to exit Parc des Princes this summer – if someone wants to stump up huge cash. 

Although ?Barcelona are waiting in the wings to bring the prodigal son back to his former home, there are no guarantees that Neymar and Los Cules will be playing happy families if the frankly ridiculous transfer goes through.

Neymar is one of the brightest stars in recent football history, but he’s also becoming one of football’s biggest frustrations. He was one of the first YouTube sensations, as teens heard rumors of a 17-year-old humiliating every defender in the Brazilian league with unimaginable tricks and flicks. At Santos he was tipped as a future Ballon d’Or winner and his desperation to be considered the best has consumed Neymar and his entire career. 

When the 21-year-old finally made his dream move to Barcelona, his destiny seemed set in stone. He had years ahead of him to learn his trade from the greatest footballer in the world, ?Lionel Messi. He would pick up the torch when Messi finally departed Camp Nou. That was the plan.

Barcelona had unearthed a gem that would become the best player in the world, and would dominate La Liga and Europe for potentially a decade or more. A best-laid plan it seemed, only to be ruined by ego and foolishness. 

Ever since his departure from Barcelona in 2017, Neymar’s star has flickered, waned, and dulled slightly. There is no doubting his endless talent, but his ability is not in question. 

Barcelona must have doubts over the mentality of their ex-forward, who picked fights with teammates and took advantage of PSG’s lenient stance on discipline, declaring himself unfit to play for the lesser games throughout the season, regularly flying back to Brazil.

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His professionalism has been questioned by his employers, and a club looking to invest in a player at any level must take this warning into serious consideration. Barcelona may feel that they are big enough to tame the wayward behaviour of the Brazilian, but those with longer memories will remember how he engineered his previous move against his clubs wishes.  

Whilst his mental state has been thrust into the public light, his physical state is also cause for concern for La Blaugrana. Neymar has only made 37 league appearances over two seasons at the Parc des Princes, picking up a string of both minor and more serious injuries. 

He also missed the Copa América, which Brazil won on home soil in his absence. 

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Having only appeared in half of the possible league games, and after early exits in both Champions League campaigns, Neymar has failed to live up to the expectations set for him in Paris. Instead, he has been overtaken by Paris’ golden boy ?Kylian Mbappé who casts a shadow equal to that of Lionel Messi in Barcelona. 

It’s hard to see what has changed since his desire to leave Barcelona only two years ago, as the Argentine shows no decline in form or ability. 

Mbappé may not be the only Frenchman whose shadow Neymar could be sat in. Despite disagreements between the Atelti and Barca, Griezmann looks set to join Barcelona after announcing his intention to leave the Madrid club at the end of last season. Alongside him in the Barcelona attack, there is ?Luis Suárez, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembélé

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Barcelona need to have a long, hard think about the player and person Neymar has developed into over the past two years. 

The years of the ‘MSN’ are over and it’s time to move on. The truth is, Barcelona don’t need him, and they shouldn’t want him either. 

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Philippe Coutinho’s Agent Denies Transfer Talk as He Calls Out Barcelona Insiders Creating Stories

?Philippe Coutinho has been linked with a move away from Barcelona this summer, but the Brazilian is staying put, according to his agent Kia Joorabchian.

Since his big-money transfer to Camp Nou in January 2018, Coutinho has struggled to nail down a starting position for the Blaugrana, with frequent reports suggesting he could be moved on this summer to help fund a return for Neymar.

Now the latest gossip suggests that Coutinho could even lose his number seven shirt to new arrival Antoine Griezmann, amping up talk of an exit.

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However, the former Liverpool man’s agent is adamant that his client will not be going anywhere following discussions with club president, Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Regarding the midfielder’s future, Joorabchian said (via The Telegraph): “I was told they have no intention of selling him, that ?Barcelona have not spoken to anyone and that stories to the contrary are simply not true.

I will not let people talk about Philippe and put him down because for one-and-a-half years we have said nothing. I won’t let them do that and all of us in Philippe’s camp will not let that happen because Barcelona have told us he is staying.”

Joorabchian speculates as to why this might be happening then called out Barcelona insiders who are seemingly trying to stoke up speculation to force the player out of the club.

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He said: “Coutinho’s camp are not actively looking to move him but we believe people inside Barcelona may be acting without authority to try and sell the player.

“Either Barcelona have to contain the people within their organisation who are giving out information to the contrary or they have to tell us the truth if they have changed their minds.”

Despite struggling for club form, Barcelona will be encouraged by the Brazilian’s performances for his country this summer, where he played a crucial role winning the nation’s first Copa America title in 12 years.

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The Blueprint: How Barcelona’s Forward Line Could Look After Signing Antoine Griezmann

The summer transfer season is in full swing and the money is flowing all around European football.

Barcelona have seen fierce rivals Real Madrid spend over €300m on new signings as they look to barge their way back into the La Liga title picture.

Barça, meanwhile, have signed 22-year-old Frenkie de Jong from Ajax for €86m, goalkeeper Neto, as part of a complicated swap deal involving Jasper Cillissen, and now, finally, Antoine Griezmann – for a juicy €120m.


??La Blaugrana may have waltzed through the best Spain have to offer last year, but their failure on the Champions League stage – as well as in the Copa del Rey final – means the pressure is on Ernesto Valverde and his side heading into next season.

With Griezmann in, and moves for Inter’s Lautaro Martinez and Neymar – yes, Neymar – in the pipeline, Barça’s forward line could be absurd next season. So let’s take a peak at the potential options at their disposal next season.


4-2-3-1 (Griezmann – Messi – Dembélé – Suarez)


Pros

The challenge for Barça is accommodating Griezmann into their team, and this is one way that Valverde could do it without disrupting things too much.

Playing a 4-2-3-1 formation could allow Lionel Messi to dictate the game with his vision and control from the number ten role – with Dembélé and Griezmann drifting in from out wide. The World Cup winners would both dart in field at times, allowing marauding full-backs Jordi Alba and Nelson Semedo (maybe) to get down the line.

Attacking overload is one way of looking at it, but can you imagine having these four on the pitch at the same time?

Cons

Griezmann operated a more central role at Atletico, often linking up with the main striker. If he does the same at Camp Nou, he could be out of position defensively.

Firstly, he may not be too keen on the defensive side of things anyway – and sitting alongside Messi in the floating role when out of possession would probably not be a great look. 

A combination of Arthur, Frenkie de Jong, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets (oh my god, how many more options!) and Arturo Vidal in a midfield two will, as a result, be run ragged – and we all know about Barça’s defensive frailties against the big boys.


4-4-2 (Messi – Griezmann)

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Pros

Valverde has been fond of the 4-4-2 formation, and there is a chance that he may look to continue using it in the forthcoming season. ?

With Luis Suarez now 32, the goalscoring burden on his shoulders could be eased by playing Griezmann alongside Messi – allowing Valverde to freshen Suarez up for next season’s Champions League.

The Uruguayan scored just once in last season’s campaign – though he did net 21 times in La Liga. If this tactic is employed, Philippe Coutinho’s Barcelona career could be spared. The players are also used to the formation, and neat, intricate football – which new boy De Jong specialises in – could be played at Camp Nou next season as a result.

Cons

Griezmann has been deployed as a central striker many, many times but you wouldn’t necessarily call him an out-and-out striker.

He did score 15 goals in La Liga last season, but playing alongside a player of similarly small stature in Messi may not suit his game. With the Argentine tending to run at opposition defences, playing most of his football in front of the defence, opportunities for Griezmann to break in behind may be few and far between.

We’ve alluded to Suarez’s ageing legs – but there’s no way the Uruguayan will fancy surrendering his spot on a regular basis, meaning the Frenchman’s place in the team could be under threat immediately.


4-2-3-1 (Griezmann – Messi – Dembélé – Martinez)

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Pros

Heading back to 4-2-3-1 – what’s the difference you ask? The presence of Lautaro Martinez we answer. The young Inter forward has been linked with a mega-money move to Camp Nou – and reportedly has a €112m release clause written into his contract at San Siro.

Martinez netted nine times in Serie A for Inter last season, but often played backup to Mauro Icardi. He does, however, have an understanding with Messi at international level – having scored twice in three Copa America games together this summer.

Martinez would become the focal point, making direct runs and linking with the three behind him. The club may need to sell Coutinho in order to fund bringing him in, but a bright future appears to be head of him.

Cons

You can’t win things with kids (just ask Alan Hansen about Manchester United during the mid 1990s), it’s as simple as that.

Okay, so Dembélé and Martinez aren’t kids exactly – but they are lacking in experience to a degree, despite their undeniable talents. Hefty price tags can often make players disappear into their shell, and between the two of them, we could be looking at combined transfer fees of around €250m.

That, is a hell of a lot of money.


4-3-3 (Messi – Griezmann – Coutinho)

Antoine Griezmann,Philippe Coutinho

Pros

Though unlikely (if we believe what we read), Coutinho’s Barcelona career could be resurrected – taking up residence on the left hand side of a front three. Messi and Griezmann could fritter between the right hand side, swapping around as they see fit.

The central striker will operate as a false nine, dropping into pockets of space and looking to feed the wingers, who will be cutting in from their flanks between the centre-back and full-back. 

A midfield three of Arthur, Busquets and De Jong, for example, would have the middle of the park on lockdown – giving Barça a stable base and good balance to their attack. Freedom of movement, fluidity of passing and relying on ball skills could suit La Blaugrana’s flare players down to the ground.

Cons

Creativity wouldn’t necessarily be an issue, but scoring goals might be. Take Messi out of the equation, and Griezmann to a degree, and you begin to think the goalscoring touch may be missing from this side.

Yes, Suarez and Dembélé would be options from the bench – but as mentioned previously, will they really be satisfied with playing bit-part roles? Good job that’s Ernesto’s problem.


4-2-4 (Griezmann – Messi – Neymar – Suarez)

Lionel Messi,Neymar,Luis Suarez

Pros

Can you imagine? Not only would the famed ‘MSN’ be back together – you’d have a dose of G thrown in on the right-hand side, leaving the G.O.A.T roaming around the middle of the park – wreaking absolute havoc.

Signing Neymar this summer, absurd as it sounds, is a very real possibility – with his no-show at PSG’s pre-season training confirming problems do exist between the Brazilian superstar and his employers. A return to Camp Nou’s left flank would suit him down to the ground – adding an extra dimension of pace back into Barça’s attack.

Add trickery, goals, assists, pinpoint crosses and all around magnificence, and you begin to shudder at the prospect of watching the four grace the same pitch. Understanding how one another plays shouldn’t be too difficult – MSN were telepathic and Griezmann has more than enough of experience of facing the boys.

Cons

As good as they would be going forward, Barcelona would be absolutely shocking in defence. Though having said that, they may not lose the ball with the players at their disposal.

But just incase they do, Neymar and Griezmann may need to track back and help out on the flanks. Hmmm seems unlikely doesn’t it.

You could call this formation 4-2-3-1, but let’s be real – this would be 4-2-4, all out FIFA attack style and Barça’s midfield duo of De Jong and Busquets (let’s call them first choice shall we) would be run ragged against top teams.

Would be fun to watch though, right?


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