“Barcelona do not need a lot of changes.” This quote from manager Tito Vilanova came just hours after the Catalans were trounced 3-0 at the Camp Nou by Bayern Munich.
Vilanova and the rest of Barcelona’s top men are aware that changes have to be made if the Catalan club is to continue to perform as one of the world’s most dominant teams. But what specific moves must be made?
In this article I will take you through each move that would be the dream summer transfer window for Barcelona. If all of these moves can take place, it would be the ultimate answer from Barcelona in the face of such a decline.
Continue reading to have your say on what changes Tito Vilanova must make this summer.
One of the most important moves within the current club that must be made is retaining Gerard Deulofeu. Ideally, the Catalan winger should spend another year developing, but that seems out of the question.
The 19-year-old would likely be given a good amount of playing time and would step in to replace departing attackers.
When it comes to La Masia, keeping gems is key. Gerard Deulofeu’s case is no different and he must be kept and groomed at Barcelona.
Speaking of retaining players, Barcelona must also make sure they keep Martin Montoya at the Camp Nou.
Recent interest in the 22-year-old from Inter Milan and Liverpool has called his future into question (via TalkSport). The defender has long been thought of as the successor of Dani Alves and that must be remembered by the club.
If Montoya is moved, it would be a very bad sign for Barcelona. The Catalan provides immense depth already and shows signs of being a future star.
La Blaugrana is in need of an influx of youth to give a new spark and hunger to the squad. Sergi Roberto and Rafinha have been long thought of as future stars and would provide just the midfield depth Vilanova is in need of.
The duo has looked very promising in limited time this year. But with a more permanent role in the first team, they could develop into important performers.
Rafinha is also able to play in a forward role, which could make him very valuable. His versatility is needed as well as his desire to perform alongside his brother Thiago.
Sergi Roberto has proven that he is ready to contribute to the Catalan team after showcasing his talent in La Masia and at Barcelona B. The Catalan midfielder would provide more depth and could turn into a key role player in his first season with the main squad.
After finding himself outside of the starting lineup, Alex Song’s future has been called into question. The Daily Mail has announced that Tottenham are after the midfielder as he seeks more playing time than he is currently getting.
But Barcelona will be wise to keep Alex Song in Spain.
The Cameroon international has proven to be more than capable of backing up Sergio Busquets. Song has become Barcelona's new Seydou Keita and plays an important role at the club.
His strength and size make him a very valuable player in the Blaugrana midfield. And with his recent performances, he will be trusted more to give Busquets important breaks.
Alex Song’s time at Barcelona is just beginning.
There will not be enough room in Barcelona’s squad for everyone leaving a few young stars with little choice than to seek time elsewhere. But with these young La Masia graduates showing promise, Barcelona must seek to loan rather than sell.
Marc Bartra and Marc Muniesa will both likely be sent off next season to get constant playing time. The pair has shown they can be top defenders in the future, but they won’t get proper development at Barca.
Other young La Masia talents could be sent out to get time such as Sergi Gomez and Carles Planas.
But above all other players, it looks like Isaac Cuenca will absolutely spend next season on loan. He has voiced his desire to remain another year with Ajax and the club looks set to give him his wish.
Loans play a very important part in football. For Barcelona, it will give them the chance to grow stars without having to sacrifice the playing time of their established stars.
For roughly the entire season there have been constant rumors speculating a potential move from Barcelona bringing Mats Hummels to Spain. More than anything else, this should be Vilanova’s top priority.
The Blaugrana defense has been in shambles for the entire season and Gerard Pique is in need of a world-class partner at the back.
Hummels has proven himself as one of the world’s best while also possessing important Barcelona traits such as the ability to pass and push forward. But at heart, Hummels is a true defender, which is what has been lacking.
The German would also be a long-term answer beside Pique as he is only 24 years old. The pairing would instantly improve Barcelona’s back line and prove to be a formidable wall for the Catalans.
With the departure of Victor Valdes on the horizon, Tito Vilanova must find a suitable replacement as soon as possible. Recent rumors speculate that Vicente Guaita is Barcelona’s top target, and rightly so.
The Valencia man has been arguably the best keeper in all of Spain this season.
But, Guaita also brings very important traits that would benefit Barcelona’s style. He is able to play the ball from the back, has top level experience, is familiar with the Spanish and La Liga culture and is a proven leader.
When it comes right down to it, there is no better keeper fit for Barcelona than Vicente Guaita.
With Bartra and Muniesa likely being sent out on loan, Barcelona will be in need of a very solid backup center-back. The club should invest in a young talent that has potential, but is also ready to perform the day he steps foot in the Camp Nou.
While there are several options, two names stick out above the rest.
The club has had its eye on Marquinhos (18) for quite some time. The Roma defender has been incredible this season and would be a great addition at any club. But his high price tag could scare off Barcelona.
Inigo Martinez (21) is also a top candidate. The Real Sociedad man is one of the best upcoming Spanish defenders and has proven himself against the best in La Liga.
At a much lower cost, Martinez would be a brilliant buy for the club. He would come already prepared to make a big impact, while still being young enough to reach a much higher level of play.
Javier Mascherano will likely continue as a backup defender next year, but the club has to have better options.
The futures of both David Villa and Alexis Sanchez have been up in the air all season. Neither player has performed at their best nor would it not be surprising to see both wingers make their Barcelona exit.
Although selling both forwards would generate a large income, one must be kept to provide depth on the wings.
Sanchez has attracted interest from clubs such as Inter Milan and would generate the most revenue out of the two. But Sanchez also has age and potential on his side, while Villa is on the downturn of his career.
Either player could go, but it is most likely that it will be David Villa who stays.
More teams are interested in Sanchez meaning Barcelona could use the transfer to fund their big-ticket Neymar move.
However, Barcelona has made it known that they see Sergio Aguero as the top replacement for David Villa if they cannot convince the Spaniard to extend his contract.
The idea of bringing in both Neymar and Aguero while selling Alexis and Villa is pure fantasy. More than likely one of the current wingers will remain, it is just a matter of who.
Not really much to say here. The Neymar and Barcelona romance has been covered from every angle that it is actually getting quite tiring. But the club absolutely must convince the Brazilian starlet to make his move to Europe this summer.
It is no secret that the last few weeks have proved that Barcelona is Messi dependent. The club needs another true scoring threat, and Neymar fits the bill perfectly.
Defenders would find it near impossible to mark both Messi and Neymar. The duo would find space due to each other’s mere presence while other attackers such as Pedro would find things much easier.
The Messi and Neymar partnership would be a beautiful thing for football and would break Barcelona’s dependence on the Argentine. La Blaugrana needs to give Leo Messi help, and what an aid Neymar would be.
It is hard to tell exactly what next season’s squad will look like. Sure the foundation and bulk will remain intact, but the necessary tweaks will change things for the better.
The Victor Valdes issue is still up in the air. He could leave this season or remain until his contract ends. Should he stay, expect him to be the starter while Guaita settles into his new home during his first season.
Barcelona’s defense will look much better.
Dani Alves and Jordi Alba will continue to run rampant down the flanks while using speed to cover their backs. But a Pique and Hummels partnership could bring the Catalans back to a calm dominance when forced back.
Montoya and Adriano will likely play important roles as well with the former looking for chances to dethrone Dani Alves.
Macherano will also continue his role as a backup defender but will hopefully not be forced to do too much with the arrival of a true defender like Inigo Martinez.
The Blaugrana midfield will remain the best in the world.
Sergio Busquets, Iniesta and Xavi will yet again be a formidable trident, but will not play together as much as usual. Thiago will be ushered into a more important role while Cesc Fabregas will finally find his spot by not being forced to play as a forward.
Sergi Roberto and Rafinha will also provide depth, while Alex Song proves to be an insanely important figure off the bench.
Lastly, Barcelona’s attack will return to its glory days. Lionel Messi will get some help from Neymar making defenders look awful trying to mark both stars.
Pedro, Tello and Deulofeu will all play key roles as well but will have more freedom to assist the Blaugrana dynamic duo.
Of course there is no telling what Tito Vilanova will actually do. This has just been a look at the ideal moves that should be attempted. Barcelona absolutely has the means to rebound from this season and Cules should be excited about what the summer holds for La Blaugrana.
What moves do you think Barcelona should make? Can the Catalans return to their former glory? Leave your thoughts and comments below.
Tre’ Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on Barcelona and La Liga.