An ageing squad with weak defence:-
If we take an inside look at Barcelona’ squad apart from the front three, they are in trouble. Midfield consisting of ageing Iniesta, inconsistent Rakitic and somewhat better Busquets isn’t the way to go. Their backups Andre Gomes, Arda Turan are just not Barcelona material. Overall midfield, which is considered as team’s spine, is not very good.
The Catalans have been poor in defence from the past two years now conceding 86 goals since their treble season back in 2015. They tried to replace Puyol with Mascherano and then Mathieu(age 33) or Umtiti, neither worked. A settled centre-back partner for Pique is a missing link for them. Left back is good when Jordi Alba is fit, otherwise, they struggle to replace him when not available. To add to these issues, replacing Dani Alves at right-back has been a huge problem for the club.
Sergi Roberto failed to adapt to that position and ageing Mascherano wouldn’t be the way to go. Former manager Luis Enrique tried to play 3 at the back with Rafinha/Roberto at right wing-back but it wasn’t convincing. Problems are aplenty for new manager Ernesto Valverde to solve.
A good transfer window required:-
For Barcelona, it is imperative that they spend money on marquee signings and improve the spine of their squad. A good centre-back, a right-back and a commanding number 8 are some primary needs. Pique needs a good partner, right-back has been vacant throughout last season and Iniesta is ageing in midfield.
But, surprisingly they have been slow in the transfer market so far. Capturing Deulofeu and Messi extending his stay at Camp Nou has been the only incoming news for the squad so far.
Reports suggest Real Betis president confirms that Barcelona are in the race to sign midfielder Dani Ceballos. For the Catalans, it is necessary that they get the deal done for the Spanish U-21 international.
Although new manager Valverde has vowed to look at the options he has, there is no doubt that squad rebuilding will require fresh faces. The manager said he’d look at Roberto and out of sight Vidal as options for a right-back and cooled interest in likes of Bellerin, Azpilicueta. This may either act as a confidence booster or backfire if so-called understudies don’t perform.
If we take a hindsight look at this Barcelona squad, they are in trouble if money isn’t spent in the right way this summer. A new manager is in the office which means the club is in some sort of transition. They just have to make sure that this transition period gets converted into winning period before not very long.
It is a cliché now that the Catalan squad needs to improve if they have to compete on all fronts next season, simple as that.