Who could stay or leave this summer? Barcelona’s squad assessed
Barcelona may be leading the La Liga table at the moment, but they have hardly been at the top of their game in 2019/20. Having sacked Ernesto Valverde midway through the season, the club brought in Quique Setien into the fold.
While there have been signs of improvement under the new manager, there is no denying the fact that there are quite a few players in the squad that don’t fit into the scheme of things under the veteran tactician.
So, there is a likelihood that Setien will ring in the changes to the current roster when the transfer window opens for business. But who will be shown the doors and who will survive the axe? We assess the possibilities.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen
The German has been Barcelona’s best player this season after Lionel Messi. He has been linked with Bayern Munich recently but is going nowhere.
Signed only last summer, the Brazilian has hardly featured this term. With Barcelona looking to re-sign Andre Onana from Ajax, Neto could be shown the doors.
The Frenchman has firmly established himself as the first-choice centre-back at Barcelona. His form has been up and down, but he remains a key cog.
Another injury-riddled campaign has seen Samuel Umtiti feature sparingly for the Catalans. Umtiti has been seeing increased game-time after Quique Setien took over, but with Barcelona looking to generate funds, his time at Camp Nou could be coming to an end.
The leader of the Barcelona defence, Pique at 33 is entering the final stages of his career. He will stay at the club without a doubt, but the Catalans need to start looking for long-term replacements.
Expect Jordi Alba (L) to remain a key cog at Barcelona. Image courtesy: AFP / Javier Soriano
Spanish international Jordi Alba remains the undisputed first-choice left-back at Camp Nou and will continue to do so come next season, despite his advancing years.
Signed from Real Betis only last summer, Spanish full-back Junior Firpo has failed to impress in his debut campaign with the La Liga champions. The rumour mill has been spinning with reports of an exit for Junior Firpo but he is likely to stay put for another season.
Another full-back whose performances haven’t been up to the mark this season, Semedo too has been linked with an exit from Camp Nou. And with Emerson impressing heavily on loan this season, the Portuguese could be shown the exit door.
The midfielder has been turned into a right-back in recent seasons and has done a decent job in the role. His versatile nature adds value to the side.
The mainstay in the middle of the park, Sergio Busquets has been rejuvenated in recent months after a slow start to the campaign. Ageing but still remains an extremely important member.
Frenkie de Jong
Signed in a big-money deal last summer from Ajax, the midfield sensation is still settling down in Spain. Expect him to display his full abilities next season.
Arthur Melo has been troubled by injuries this season, but the Brazilian remains a key member of the team. Melo has been linked with Tottenham, but he has dismissed all speculations, stating that he intends to remain at Barcelona.
Ivan Rakitic is likely on his way out of Camp Nou. Image courtesy: AFP / Gabriel Bouys
Croatian Ivan Rakitic has been a brilliant servant for Barcelona but he has slowly been phased out of the first-team picture at Barcelona and with his contract expiring in a year, he is very likely to be moved on when the transfer window opens.
Another seasoned campaigner in Barcelona’s midfield department, Vidal’s contract will also expire in 2021. Given his age, Barcelona will want to cash in on him and get whatever transfer fee they can for the Chilean.
Rated very highly within the club, the La Masia graduate has seen game time at a premium this season. However, with the likelihood of multiple midfielders leaving the club in the summer, his chances should increase, especially given that Setien is an admirer.
The marquee signing of last summer has struggled to get going in his debut season at Camp Nou. Griezmann has already been linked with a summer exit, with moves to Inter Milan and PSG being mooted as part of Barcelona’s attempts to land Lautaro Martinez and Neymar respectively.
The Frenchman though, has no intentions of leaving at the moment. Expect him to fight it out for a starting berth next season.
Verdict: Stays. Obviously.
Ageing and injury-prone but remains Barcelona’s best option for the centre-forward role. There are likely to be new additions to the position in the summer, but Luis Suarez will stay put till his contract expires in 2021.
Signed to replace Neymar three years ago, the Frenchman has spent more time on the treatment tables than he has on the field during his stint with Barcelona.
The club want to offload him, but it remains to be seen if there are any suitors, given the transfer fee he is likely to command. Even then, a loan exit could also be worked out. But it is hard to see him stay at Camp Nou come next season.
The breakout star of the season for Barcelona. The teenager has been quite exceptional in his debut campaign. Expect Ansu Fati to be given more responsibility moving forward.
Brought in as an emergency signing in February, the Frenchman did fairly well in the three games he played for Barcelona. A decent backup option to have in the ranks.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Lluis Gene
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