In recent weeks, Barcelona’s lack of depth in certain positions has become clear, threatening to derail the fantastic season the Blaugrana club has had so far.
The Catalan side will surely be a very active participant in the upcoming transfer market and we already can figure a few movements they will probably do.
Let’s take a look at the Blaugrana’s offseason.
Cesc Fabregas has been linked to Barcelona for years, but Arsenal’s coach Arsene Wenger has made clear that the Spanish midfielder is one of the cornerstones for the Gunners.
After one more season without titles, I doubt Arsenal will be willing to let go their biggest star.
In the past years, there has been a comparison between Barcelona and Real Madrid’s transfer policy: “cantera vs cartera” (Spanish for “youth squad vs wallet”).
Los Culés have trusted their youngsters to cover the first squad absences and it has worked well, with the appearance of players like Pedro Rodriguez.
However, this season Barcelona has struggled with its depth, constantly using players out of their regular positions to cover injuries or bans.
Barcelona B has done great in the Second Division, but I don’t see many of its players having much playing time with the first team next season.
We can expect at least five or six “middle-class” signings to reinforce the Blaugrana’s bench.
Thiago Alcantara will be promoted full-time to the A-squad this June. I think he will be a regular in the starting XI by the next June.
The son of Mazinho is a special player and many see him as Xavi Hernandez’s heir apparent, although he plays a bit forward.
Thiago is stronger than what his small frame would suggest, has great passing and good shooting. He has been outstanding with Barcelona B and should be a success with the first squad.
Most than any other position, Barcelona needs to sign a central defender.
Every time Carles Puyol got injured Pep Guardiola had to move a player from another position to cover his absence. Gabriel Milito will depart in the summer and Marc Fontás doesn’t look ready to be the third central defender in the rotation.
Ajax’s Jan Vertonghen, Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross and AZ’s Hector Moreno would be nice young options who could take Puyol’s spot in one or two seasons.
After four seasons with the first team, Bojan has been unable to consolidate as an important piece of Pep Guardiola’s scheme.
Most of his appearances have been as back-up and, although he has some important goals in his career, he is still not what Barcelona expects him to become.
The team is high on him, so I see him going on loan to a minor team where he can be an indisputable starter and return in 2012 to take a bigger role in the Blaugrana’s attack.
Three years ago, Giovani Dos Santos had a lot of activity in his rookie season with Barcelona, but he decided to leave for fear of losing playing time. He ended watching most Tottenham games from the crowd.
His little brother is also a bit impatient. Jonathan Dos Santos made a big soap opera after being left out of the Mexican National Squad for the World Cup in the last cut (he has yet to return to El Tri) and has had to settle for Barcelona B in the past two seasons, with a few callings to the first team.
I think Jonathan will follow his brother’s steps and look for more opportunities elsewhere. Let’s hope he picks the right team.
There have already been many rumours about Pep Guardiola’s departure from Barcelona.
I think he will stay for the next season, but that will be the last.
Guardiola’s heir apparent was Luis Enrique, currently at charge of Barcelona B, but he already announced his departure after the end of the season and has been linked to many First Division sides.
Anyway, after the success Guardiola had with the first team after being at charge of the B squad, the board is willing to repeat the formula.
The next Barcelona coach will get a year in the organization to prepare for the job.
Even before Eric Abidal’s absence, I felt Barcelona’s weakest link was the left back spot.
Don’t get me wrong: Abidal is very good, but I don’t see him in the same league of Dani Alves.
Barcelona could have a left-footed version of the Brazilian star by signing the Tottenham’s wing-back, who will definitely be one of the most coveted targets in this transfer market.
I know, this is not even a bold prediction.
Last season Barcelona beat their rivals in the fight for David Villa and both teams will probably compete for the services of one star.
Even if they don’t actually go for the same player, our friends in Diario Marca and Sport will make sure we believe they are trying to steal one gem from the rivals hands.
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