Barcelona are set to have a new-look starting XI next season, as rumours suggest they are interested in signing Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Wolves winger Adama Traore
Last year will not be remembered fondly by Barcelona fans.
Yet things are looking up under new manager Xavi. They’re fifth in La Liga – just one point behind Atletico Madrid in fourth – and will be confident of winning the Europa League.
Xavi has also signed two key players – club legend Dani Alves and Manchester City talent Ferran Torres – and many more are expected to follow in the near future.
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Barcelona are believed to have made a loan bid for the 25-year-old, who came through the ranks at the Nou Camp, with an option to buy him for £29million this summer.
They are also thought to be considering a move for Manchester United star Alex Telles, offering Jordi Alba some competition at left-back.
Should Xavi pull off all three deals, he will have a stellar team at his disposal next season.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen will remain Barcelona’s undisputed No1 goalkeeper, although he will have a different defence in front of him.
Youngsters Ronald Araujo and Eric Garcia could form a long-term partnership at centre-back, with Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti and Azpilicueta offering experience in reserve.
Azpilicueta is likely to be deployed at right-back, although he could push into the middle and Dani Alves, Sergino Dest or Sergi Roberto could fill in for him.
Alternatively, if Xavi wants to play three at the back, he could deploy Azpilicueta or Traore at right wing-back. Either Telles or Alba could slot in down the other flank.
Offside via Getty Images)
Sergio Busquets is likely to keep his place in defensive midfield and two of Pedri, Gavi and Frenkie de Jong will play either side of the skipper.
In attack, Xavi has plenty of options, including Traore, Torres, Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay, Martin Braithwaite and perhaps even Alvaro Morata.
And Ousmane Dembele could still be part of Xavi’s plans. According to Spanish outlet Sport, the World Cup winner wants to extend his existing deal, which expires in June.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Cesar Azpilicueta, Ronald Araujo, Eric Garcia, Alex Telles
Pedri, Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong
Memphis Depay, Ansu Fati, Osumane Dembele
Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Adama Traore, Cesar Azpilicueta, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba
Sergi Roberto, Serigo Busquets, Gavi
Alvaro Morata, Ferran Torres
With so many talented players being linked with Barcelona – not to mention those already at the club – president Joan Laporta is confident the team can compete again.
“We’re working on the summer window,” said Laporta earlier this month. “Everything is possible if it’s done well. I am sure things will go well.
“Barcelona are still a reference. Every player considers the possibility of coming here. We still have our status in the transfer market.
“Everyone can get ready because Barca are back… we’re a reference. Barca’s resurgence is a reality and the football world has realised that.”