Barcelona: Why Neymar and Hummels Would Make Blaugrana Kings of Europe Again

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterMay 2, 2013

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - MARCH 21:  Neymar of Brazil in action during the international friendly match between Italy and Brazil on March 21, 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Barcelona bowed out of the UEFA Champions League semifinals in the most disappointing of circumstances: a 7-0 aggregate loss to German powerhouse Bayern Munich.

Callous claims have immediately begun to surface regarding potential overhauls and firings in Catalonia, but rest assured the organisation are smart enough to avoid knee-jerk reactions.

Eras always come to an end, and the 2008-2012 Barcelona side may well go down as the best in history—certainly, it's the best many football fans have seen in their lifetimes.

Football is cyclical, and the ultimate goal is to stay ahead of the opposition physically, tactically and mentally. Barca have slipped behind, but they're far from a broken organisation.

In fact, after Jose Mourinho was brought to Real Madrid with the briefing of finding a way to beat Barca, it was always going to be tough to stay light-years ahead.

In this respect, Tito Vilanova and Jordi Roura inherited the raw end of the stick—Europe's top clubs are all obsessed with finding a way to beat you: Enjoy the new job, Tito.

The summer will be used to recharge and rethink, but tiki-taka is going nowhere.

In fact, Barca don't need to change an awful lot, but it's become clear only a player or two is needed.

La Blaugrana's over-reliance on Lionel Messi became startlingly clear over the course of the two-legged affair with die Bayern. His limp performance at the Allianz Arena was very forgettable, while his absence in the second left Cesc Fabregas flailing around on his own in attack.

Messi's durability has seen him play almost every game Barca have had in the last three years, and yes, taking the guy who scores nearly 100 goals a year off is going to harm your side.

The Neymar rumours have been hotting up (via, and with this disappointing, Messi-less exit, expect that deal to be pushed through.

Having Neymar and Messi on the pitch would put the fear back into every club side who face Barca next season—a fear currently absent after several abject performances.

The lack of heart and drive that can be seen in Barca is frightening, but a key addition to the forward line would reinvigorate the team.

The only other position on the shopping list this summer will be centre-back. Gerard Pique has been unimpressive, Carles Puyol is in rapid decline, Javier Mascherano isn't a natural and Marc Bartra needs time.

Mats Hummels is the obvious choice here, but he'll be very difficult to attain: Dortmund's squad is being ripped apart with the losses of Robert Lewandowski and Mario Goetze, so Juergen Klopp is unlikely to sanction a third key player sale.

Perhaps a brainstorm is required to suss out the perfect recruit.

Either way, the head honchos must find a defender with good positional awareness, excellent last-line ability and the pace to play a high line.

To suggest tiki-taka is dead is nonsense; this Barcelona production machine is 20 years in the making and, just over a year ago, was being lauded as the greatest talent factory in the world.

Radical change will not occur, and just a few clever decisions could see Barca back on par with Bayern next season.

In the aftermath of the Champions League, it's been forgotten that Barca are top of La Liga, have the chance to hit 100 points and have already scored 100 goals.

The higher the standards are set, the greater the fall.