On paper, Barcelona shouldn’t have much to worry about. They’ve won eight of the last ten domestic trophies on offer – four league titles and as many Spanish Cups – they have the best player in the world and are currently top of La Liga.
Yet, peel just one layer back and it’s clear that this juggernaut is in utter turmoil.
Whether it’s the fact that they allowed Lionel Messi to sign a contract which allows him to ?leave at the end of every year for free, or that the club were forced to deny ?hiring a company to criticise its own players on social media, it’s fair to say that things aren’t all rosy in Catalonia.
On the field ?Barcelona may be top of the table but this is arguably as much down to the faltering of Real Madrid – who beat them in this season’s Clásico – than their own performances.
Nevertheless, there remains numerous key players in the final year of their contracts – including Messi – and after the Argentinian is locked in a room until he signs an extension, some quite significant rotation needs to be implemented.
The club have already been busy targeting young talent in attack and are set to welcome back some excellent players returning from loan spells including Marc Cucurella and Carles Aleñá. But that doesn’t mean the Catalans don’t need to improve their squad in a few key areas.
Lautaro Martínez – With Luis Suárez’s powers rapidly fading and a certain other forward disappointing, the 22-year-old Lautaro would be an exciting addition to that front line and seems to be the ?club’s priority when the window opens. £85m
Fabián Ruiz – If De Jong is finally moved to his more familiar role deeper in midfield so he can focus on progressing the ball rather than charging into the opposition’s box, Ruiz can thrive in that more attack-minded midfield slot. The Spaniard would add balance and form an exciting trio alongside the Dutchman and Arthur. £50m
Dayot Upamecano – Central defence is perhaps the most desperate area of reinforcement considering Barcelona boast just three senior players and the only right-footed one is the 33-year-old Gerard Piqué. Upamecano has everything; intelligence, strength and speed. It will be a battle trying to secure his signature but they have to try. £45m
Matheus Fernandes – A 21-year-old Brazilian midfielder to add fresh legs in place of some departing senior members of the squad has already been snapped up. £6.3m
Francisco Trincão – The ?highly-rated Portuguese winger, after being bought in January, won’t have a starting berth to begin with, but who better to play understudy to than Lionel Messi? £27.9m
Pedri – Another young prospect has already been added to the attack but the 17-year-old Spanish winger may be destined for a loan spell next campaign. £4.5m
Potential Spend: £218.7m
Barcelona have let four senior players enter the final year of their contract, along with the promising youngster Riqui Puig. Messi’s situation has already been touched upon and Luis Suárez may hang up his boots when his deal expires, but the club should at least try to get some money for the other ageing players and their absence from the wage bill would in itself be a great relief.
Philippe Coutinho – The question isn’t so much whether Barcelona should sell the Brazilian but can they – if so, take pretty much anything you can get. £65m
Antoine Griezmann – A peculiar signing last summer hasn’t been an utter failure – averaging roughly a goal or assist ever other game – but for north of £100m and a player past his prime, it has been a disappointing debut campaign. £70m
Ivan Rakiti? – Soon to be entering the final year of his deal, the Croatian has been a reliable performer for La Blaugrana but
Arturo Vidal – The Chilean unquestionably brings a different dynamic to the lineup in his role chiefly as a wrecking ball, but the energy and dynamism which once defined his game seems to be slowly ebbing away. £8m
Rafinha – The Brazilian midfielder has put in some decent performances out on loan at Celta Vigo but just has never quite reached the level required for a club the size of Barcelona. £8m
Carles Pérez – At 22, the Catalan-born winger has perhaps run out of time to realise the promise he was thought to have – well, that is certainly the case in the eyes of the club who have already agreed to sell him in the summer to Roma. £9.9m
Potential Sales: £170.9m
Full First-Team Squad for 2020/21 in a Dream Scenario (inc. Squad Numbers)
|?1.||Marc-André ter Stegen|
|?4.||?Dayot Upamecano (New Signing)|
|?6.||?Fabián Ruiz (New Signing)|
|?7.||?Lautaro Martínez (New Signing)|
|?12.||?Carles Aleñá (New Squad Number)|
|?14.||?Jean-Clair Todibo (New Squad Number)|
|?17.||?Ansu Fati (New Squad Number)|
|?21.||?Frenkie de Jong|
|?22.||?Trincão (New Signing)|
|?26.||?Oriol Busquets (New Squad Number)|
|?27.||?Matheus Fernandes (New Signing)|
|?29.||?Pedri (New Signing)|