In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so, you’ll know Barcelona are in crisis on and off the field.
La Blaugrana surrendered their Spanish crown to rivals Real Madrid last season, got their Cules handed to them by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, and caused club legend Lionel Messi to be so sad that he wants to pick up his ball and go home.
Barça are trying to make that transition from ageing, experienced winners to young, hungry future stars, but they have suffered a lot of teething issues under Ronald Koeman this year.
A glance at the squad tells you there is serious reconstruction to be done. The backline has rarely been settled due to injuries to key players, and the lack of depth has cost them countless points over the campaign.
The midfield is sluggish and lacks that cut and thrust of a player keen to break between the lines or contribute goals on a regular basis, and the forward options include Martin Braithwaite. Say no more.
So, it’s a summer of major surgery – only Barça have no money and loads of debt. Fortunately, there will be a number of free transfers knocking about, but which ones would add some genuine quality to this Blaugrana side?
Ok, so technically Messi is already a Barcelona player, but he will be a free agent in the summer if they don’t convince him to put ink on paper. Some are questioning whether the club should even take the financial hit on re-signing the Argentinian superstar, but he is the best player in the world, so ya know?
It’ll be a huge statement of intent from the new president Joan Laporta if he can persuade Messi to stick around for another year or two, and will be a signal to potential future signings that Barça is still as attractive a prospect as it once was.
Signing Messi will be crucial to their on-field success, but his presence in Catalonia could be even more important when attempting to keep up appearances.
One wonders if Barça regret allowing Luis Suarez to leave for rivals Atletico Madrid last summer. Los Rojiblancos now sit four points ahead of la Blaugrana at the top of La Liga, and the Uruguayan hitman is the second highest scorer in Spain.
The club massively underestimated the value of an experienced goalscorer in their side, and so they’d be crazy to pass up on the opportunity of landing Manchester City man Sergio Aguero on a free transfer this summer.
The Argentine is approaching his 33rd birthday, but he could still do a job at the highest level among a star-studded squad which plays to feed him goals. Just get it done, lads.
This one is basically as done as a done-deal can be. Eric Garcia has long wanted to return to Barcelona, and although he was denied the chance to join his former employers in the winter, it seems to be his summer destination.
Pep Guardiola has claimed he is ‘heartbroken’ not to be able to play Garcia in defence, and has confirmed that the Spaniard is set to rejoin Barça in the summer.
It was basically the worst-kept secret in football, but Garcia is coming home. He’ll be a great addition to their central defensive options with Pique on the way down.
The news coming out of the Spanish capital is that La Liga champions Real Madrid are set to land Bayern star David Alaba on a free transfer. Barça simply cannot stand by and allow this to happen, though.
The Austrian is a perfect player for the Catalan giants, as he can play comfortably at left-back, centre-back or in midfield. His flexibility in a variety of positions makes him an asset like no other, and aged only 28, he’s into his prime.
It won’t be easy to slow the Madrid wheels in motion, but Barça have got to try, at least. Snap him up, and they won’t regret it.
If Braithwaite is anywhere close to the first-team, then there is still some replenishing to be done. Memphis Depay came so close to joining Barça in January, but the move fell through at the final hurdle.
The Dutchman was desperate to follow Koeman to Catalonia, and the likelihood remains that la Blaugrana will make another move to sign the 27-year-old.
A strong personality, comfortable in any position across the front three and a favourite of the current boss, Depay would be a solid addition to the squad.
I don’t know how Georginio Wijanaldum has managed to concentrate on his football this season, given his name has been permanently linked with Barcelona.
The Liverpool star has been at the heart of their Champions League and Premier League success over the past couple of years, and burnt Barça in the 2019 European semi-final, scoring twice in the dramatic 4-0 comeback.
His box-to-box exploits are sorely needed in a midfield lacking that desire to get on the scoresheet or cover every blade of grass. An underrated talent in Jurgen Klopp’s team, and one who will be badly missed once he’s gone. Enjoy him while he’s here, Reds.
p class=”tagStyle_q7y9ey-o_O-style_1tcxgp3-o_O-style_48hmcm-o_O-style_1ngkwsz” data-id=”_0eg9h7tlb”>Versatility and depth is something that’s needed in this squad, and that is most accurate when assessing the full-back options. Jordi Alba and Sergino Dest are excellent starters, but behind them, there is not a lot of genuine talent.
Elseid Hysaj could be an ideal man to step in and provide some cover. He can operate at both right and left-back, and has demonstrated incredible consistency during his six years at SSC Napoli.
He isn’t necessarily going to offer extra quality to the starting XI, but you’ll find few better options for a second choice on either flank.