Barcelona Transfers: 5 Players Who Could Leave Camp Nou This Season
Ask anybody about the premier teams to play for in Europe and Barcelona would surely be towards the top of the list. Most players would jump at the chance to play for the Catalan club.
Why, then, would anyone want to leave the prestigious club? It could be a for few reasons.
Back in 2010, there were rumors of growing financial problems for Barcelona. Since then things have been mostly quiet on that front, but there's no reason to believe, if those reports were true, that the problems have gone away.
With FIFA's financial fair-play system, teams must be more aware of how much money is spent on players.
It's not just money though that could lead to a transfer.
The player may have personal problems with the club that, ultimately, cannot be resolved. It may not even be the player either.
If a player doesn't fit well into a team's system, especially with a club like Barcelona, whose success depends on how well the players fit into the team's tactics, then it would be best served for both sides to move on.
Taking into account all those reasons, here are five players who I think could be poised to leave Camp Nou this season.
1. Ibrahim Afellay
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Still, his situation is one to monitor.
When Afellay joined Barcelona from PSV, it was believed that he would immediately form a successful partnership with Lionel Messi in Barcelona's attack.
Unfortunately for Afellay, his time at Barcelona has been marred by a major injury. He tore his ACL in September of last year which sidelined him for seven months.
Afellay featured in a few matches upon his return from the injury, but he was mostly relegated to substitute duty.
Naturally, Afellay wanted first team football and Barcelona granted his wish.
There's been no information about whether his loan move to Schalke included a possibility to make the move permanent, but it'd be hard to imagine that any team would take on a player of Afellay's quality without wanting to keep him around long-term.
If that's the case, or if Afellay feels like he won't be starting at Barcelona, the Dutch winger may find himself plying his trade elsewhere.
2. Javier Mascherano
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Yes, I know that Mascherano just signed a long-term extension to stay with Barcelona.
For me, this choice wound up being a toss up between Adriano and Mascherano because their situations are similar.
They are only a year apart, 27 and 28, respectively, and both joined Barcelona in 2010. They also both seem to have shifted their positional roles to fit better into the Barcelona system.
I chose Mascherano because, despite Mascherano being happy at Barcelona, he is the more expendable of the two.
When Carlos Puyol gets healthy and reclaims his spot at the back, playing time will become more sparse for the two defenders.
At that point it becomes logistical.
Mascherano had been linked with a move away from Barcelona prior to signing his extension. Extensions, though, do not automatically mean a player will see out the contract's length.
Even though his desire is to stay and he has so far, Mascherano could still move on if he's deemed surplus by the club.
3. Dani Alves
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Dani Alves has been a mainstay in the Barcelona back four since joining in 2008, starring in the right back role.
Recently, though, Alves revealed that big spending Paris Saint-Germain made an offer to sign him this past summer.
Though Barcelona were asking for a fee deemed too steep for the French outfit, and Alves admitted that he wanted to stay, he did not entirely rule out an exit from Camp Nou.
Alves picked up a knock during El Classico that will keep him out three weeks, but, unless he can't prove that he's healthy come transfer time, it's hard to imagine that teams would not be interested in signing the Brazilian.
Naturally, he admitted with PSG's interest, there would come a time when Barcelona would not want him anymore.
If Martin Montoya, who replaced Alves, or Adriano, playing in his natural fullback position, can impress in Alves' absence, then would that make Alves a little more expendable?
Probably not on performance alone. Take into account financial fair play and Alves' wages, though, and the scenario seems more likely.
4. Sergio Busquets
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Things are starting to move away from tactics and surplus and into smart business decisions.
Firstly, there's no denying that Busquets is a major cog in the Barcelona squad.
The proof is in the failed transfers of two players who were brought in to fill a similar role in the Barcelona system. Yaya Toure and Seydou Keita are both holding midfielders, like Busquets, but made less than stellar impressions during their stints at Camp Nou.
Furthermore, the lack of quality holding midfielders makes Busquets even more indespensible to the club.
Why, then, would they even think of letting him go?
I think it makes sense business wise, but it is all contingent on whether Alex Song is capable of taking over Busquets's role.
It all started with a rumor of an ambitious effort by Zenit St. Petersburg to lure the midfielder to Russia. Obviously, it would have taken a fantastic offer to lure such a key player away, but it brings up an interesting point.
Busquets is now worth a healthy sum. Why not sell high?
Whether you want to see it as preparing for the new financial fair play rules, or even turning that money into new players, and however unlikely it may seem, Busquets leaving is interesting to think about.
5. David Villa
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What would a list like this be without something from left field?
Villa's situation combines a little bit of every possible reason for a transfer away from Barcelona.
He is still freshly removed from a major injury to his tibia. While he is returning to form, he still has to prove he can maintain it over a full season.
There have been rumors of a rift between him and Messi, though Messi has denied any dissent amongst the ranks.
There's also a concern about Villa's positioning in the squad. Regardless of tactics, Villa is a world class talent. As such, slotting him over to the wing doesn't seem to hamper his playing ability at all.
Still, to me, Villa would be most effective playing as a center forward or striker rather than on the wing.
Lastly, there's the financial aspects of it all. There's no doubt that teams will pay a pretty penny to sign Villa away from Barcelona.
That money, plus other money, could be used to fund new transfers.
There are players that Barcelona covets, such as Gareth Bale, but just don't have the right funds to sign. A Villa transfer makes that all more likely.
Combine all of that reasoning and a once impossible thought seems a little less crazy.
You never know, do you?