It’s been a summer of turmoil and drama for Barcelona, with the Lionel Messi saga, departures and Quique Setien getting sacked as manager and Ronald Koeman replacing him dominating the headlines.
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With the high profile Messi situation behind them and him ultimately staying against his will, Koeman certainly has his work cut out for him as manager. With Barca keen on moving on some of their older and unwanted players, the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal, Nelson Semedo, Arthur and Luis Suarez have all left the club.
Losing such experienced players, who have been integral towards the club’s success in recent times won’t be easy to replace. Having only bought in young talents in Francisco Trincao and Pedri, plus the excellent Miralem Pjanic in midfield, they’ll need to work quickly to bring in some more quality reinforcements. Names such as Memphis Depay, Sergino Dest and Eric Garcia have all been linked but nothing has materialised yet.
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Set to implement a 4-2-3-1, Koeman’s team will still be a handful for opponents despite all the negativity surrounding them at present. With Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati and Philippe Coutinho returning from his fruitful loan spell at Bayern Munich, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with going forward.
Meanwhile, in midfield and defence, the likes of Frenkie De Jong, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet offer plenty of quality even if they all weren’t at their best last term.
Possessing one of the finest goalkeepers in the world in Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, the German’s shot stopping, passing out from the back, command of his area and leadership will be a huge benefit as always.
Second favourites at 2.20 behind last season’s winners Real Madrid in the betting odds, the Catalan giants will have their work cut for them to reclaim their La Liga crown. Considering they didn’t win any silverware last year and were humiliated 8-2 by Bayern in the Champions League, they’ll be eager to win some trophies and enjoy an uplifting season.
With still plenty of time to strengthen their squad to inject some positivity into the club, it’ll be intriguing to see who they can sign to add some quality to hopefully take some of the burden of the little maestro in Messi.