Barcelona have appealed against their FIFA transfer ban, with the result being that they face a summer of transfer activity once more while the appeal is heard.
As per BBC Sport, the ban has been suspended until after the appeal, which could potentially see the 14-month sentence reduced. In any case, it's a big plus for the Catalan club, who were due to lose two long-serving players this summer and would have wanted to strengthen after falling just short of major honours this season.
Replacing Valdes, Puyol
With goalkeeper Victor Valdes and defender Carles Puyol both due to leave Barcelona this summer, replacements for both would have been paramount in the club's plans.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen seems to be the goalkeeper recruit, per Sky Sports, with that deal now able to go through in summer, and a central defender to partner Gerard Pique will surely be target No. 1 for the window.
It's not just the players and their abilities Barcelona will lose, though, but their influence and experience in the dressing room, their habit of winning titles and their knowledge of how the club is run.
Halilovic and Other Youngsters
Alen Halilovic will be a Barcelona player this summer, having already agreed his switch to the side. Whether he immediately has an impact on the first team remains to be seen, being only 17 years of age, but he will be a big part of their future.
That is certainly the view of Croatia great Davor Suker. "He reminds me of Messi," Suker told Cope (H/T Goal.com). "He is young, but we can trust him and he handles the ball very well."
One or two other additions along this line might be expected, too; players who could feature for the Barcelona B team next year before graduating along with other academy recruits in the coming seasons.
If Barcelona aren't to add further signings for their youth teams for the next couple of years—and presumably have to alter their recruitment tactics, too—then a few promising youngsters arriving this year should ensure a progression of new faces to the first-team squad even when new signings are unable to be made.
On the opposite side of the fence, we could be seeing a handful of two-year loan deals for the likes of Rafinha or Gerard Deulofeu, ensuring their regular game time elsewhere before coming back ready for the rigours of the Barca first team.
Planning for the future and an impending transfer ban is important, but Barcelona have fallen short this year. Only third favourites for the league title now, they were dealt an exit in the Champions League quarter-finals to domestic rivals and a defeat in the Copa del Rey final. They need some big-time additions.
Not many, perhaps, but certainly another quality forward-line option and an adventurous, yet solid full-back.
Despite the magnificence of possession and dominating of matches at times, there has been a lack of individual spark in the final third in too many games. Movement and pace would be a fine thing to put into the team in a central area—that's part of the reason Alexis Sanchez has enjoyed spells of being one of their more important players.
The recruitment drive this summer is going to have to cover the whole of this season and at least half of next, more than likely, so getting those decisions right is important in the extreme. For both ins and outs, Barcelona should be seeing a lot of activity this summer.
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