It hasn’t been a good month for FC Barcelona, in fact, it has been downright awful. The Catalans were bounced out of the Champions League, beaten in the Copa del Rey final and saw their La Liga title hopes take a nose dive all in the span of one week.
For the second year in a row it seems like Barcelona’s time in the spotlight is coming to a close, and everyone is quick to announce that the golden era is over for La Blaugrana.
It is true that things are not good in Catalonia at the moment; however, talks of an utter downfall are still premature. Those ready to throw Barcelona completely under the bus do have their reasons, but it isn’t all over for the Catalans by any means.
Many will be quick to point out that the team has several issues that need to be addressed but cannot due to the transfer ban facing the club. Yet, at this point, Barcelona still believe they will be able to make signings this summer, as vice president Manel Arroyo stated a few weeks ago, via the Daily Mail: "We're working on an appeal that will give us an interim suspension of the transfer ban. We want to have a normal summer. We're convinced that we will be able to sign new players. It's a significant ban and our legal team is working so that we'll be able to sign new players this summer."
There is truly no telling how Barcelona’s appeal will be received, and as of now there are tons of questions about this upcoming transfer window.
To begin with, if they are able to sign players this summer with the ban suspended, it seems as though they will have all of the opportunity to make at least a few changes that are necessary.
Barcelona, like any European giant, will have the money to throw around and surely have had their eyes on plenty of talented stars that could come to the Camp Nou.
However, if the club truly isn’t allowed to sign players this summer then it could also be a blessing in disguise.
Barcelona made their reputation several years ago by becoming a club wholly devoted to youth production and made La Masia a huge part of their identity. That focus on youth is also what got them in trouble, but there is no doubting the quality of La Masia graduates as a whole.
If the club is unable to sign players, they will be forced to yet again make youth the focus. Barcelona seem to have gotten away from being a club all about youth in recent seasons, but all of that could change again thanks to this ban.
In short, if the ban is suspended then the club can address their needs while it may even be a blessing if it is not lifted.
No matter what happens, players like Gerard Deulofeu and Rafinha, who spent this season on loan, will likely return and could have an immediate impact. They alone would not fix the issues, but it is a start.
Possible signings and youth stars aside, there are several other reasons why talks of the downfall are premature.
Barcelona are one of the biggest football clubs on the planet and they have an identity. While all of the problems loom large, the Catalan squad is still full of world beaters like Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta.
With a squad still packed with world-class players, Barcelona cannot be counted out just yet. The players definitely haven’t been playing up to their best over recent weeks, but that doesn’t mean their quality is gone.
While all of the turmoil is going on, it would also make sense for Tata Martino to be thrown under the bus. The Argentine manager has watched as his side have fallen apart, and he will likely see the axe this summer.
Martino does have to accept plenty of blame for this season—with questionable lineup choices and what seems to be a failure to motivate his players—yet he isn’t fully to blame.
If Martino is gone this summer and the club bring in a new manager, there is no telling what changes could occur.
A new manager means renewed energy and fresh ideas, and it could be just the thing they need to light the fire under them again.
With a world-class squad, possible new manager and likely additions from inside or out, there are plenty of opportunities for Barcelona to get back on the right track.
It must be noted that it is up to the club to address the issues and actually take steps in the right direction, but fans should know that there are options.
If Barcelona returned next season to lift trophies fans would not be completely overwhelmed with shock. They do possess the likes of Messi, Busquets and Iniesta.
It is clear that they need to fix some issues on the pitch, but so does every other club. The real problem is what is going on behind closed doors. This isn’t the same Barcelona we saw last year or even a few months ago.
Will Barcelona fix the problems and return to their brilliant best?
Whatever the problem is, there is a chance to fix it. The Catalan giants right now have the chance to either put the train back on the track and continue their era of brilliance or let everything crumble apart.
An era is over when a great team can no longer compete for titles. Though Barcelona are quickly finding themselves falling behind, the race isn’t over. This isn’t a downfall, it’s a chance to make it all right.
The choice lies with Barcelona: continue to fall or stand back up and face the problems. It is going to be an eternity of a summer, and everything rests on what FC Barcelona do next. Everything that is being said about Barcelona could end up being true, but it doesn't have to be.