Barcelona Rebuild Not Complete Despite Luis Suarez, Neymar, Lionel Messi Attack

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Barcelona Rebuild Not Complete Despite Luis Suarez, Neymar, Lionel Messi Attack
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The biggest transfer of the summer is done: Luis Suarez has moved from Liverpool to Barcelona.

To the probable relief of all parties—clubs, player, fans and rumour column-readers—the signing was not nearly as drawn out as it might have been, and certainly not when compared to previous Premier League-La Liga transfer sagas anyway.

Barcelona will pay around £75 million for the Uruguayan forward, as per BBC Sport. It's a huge outlay, but the redevelopment of the team is far from complete and the Spanish side have much work remaining this summer.

 

Bartomeu's Rebuild

While debate raged around Suarez's suspension and Barcelona's "discreet" transfer dealings, club president Josep Maria Bartomeu indicated that plenty of new arrivals might be expected, as per BBC Sport:

This year we are going to restructure the team in depth and we are working on that. We have been working on that since February, but I can't reveal things we are doing. We have to be discreet—we can't give clues to other teams. We do have a lot of negotiations at a very advanced stage, but the World Cup is going on. People are speculating about a lot of players at the World Cup, but there's a lot of different factors.

So far the goalkeeper position has been well tended to with Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo both coming in, while attacking changes have seen Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas depart with Suarez being joined by Ivan Rakitic as new arrivals.

Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press

The returns from loan of Gerard Deulofeu and Rafinha add more depth (and inexperience) to the ranks, but again, in the attacking third of the pitch.

 

Lingering Areas of Concern

What about the rest of the team? Barcelona don't generally tend to make huge numbers of signings each summer, but central defence has been an area of concern for some time. With Carles Puyol now departed, genuine competition—if not an outright replacement—is needed for Gerard Pique or Javier Mascherano.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It seems unthinkable they would go without one new recruit in the back line, while a full-back addition wouldn't be entirely unexpected either.

Furthermore, central midfield could potentially require more investment with Xavi coming to the end of his powers and Fabregas departing. Much might depend on how and where the new boss intends to use Lionel Messi.

 

Luis Enrique

The new boss is, of course, former Barcelona midfielder Luis Enrique.

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Having shown an ability to alter his team set-up tactically at Celta Vigo, he's well placed to tinker with his side during the preseason and figure out how to make the most of a Neymar-Messi-Suarez attack—though the latter will not be available initially, pending an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

He will know, though, that along with the expected fluidity and creativity that a Barcelona attack must possess, a far more resolute and reliable defensive output will be one of his biggest challenges to achieve this coming season.

Whether that must be achieved with another two or three signings or a systematic change in formation remains to be seen—but as La Liga has shown us over the past few seasons, with a deadly attack, Barcelona will still be in the running for the title regardless.

Whether they win the title, and European honours, might depend on how well he gets that trio to gel and which further signings appear at the opposite end of the pitch.

 

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