Almost every player in Barcelona during the season was linked with a potential departure in the summer of 2021, apart from Ter Stegen. Every other name was used as “raising funds” for another blockbuster signing that makes close to no sense whatsoever. Transfer this, transfer that, it’s all transfers and movement in the mouth of the media and fans on social media. Laporta will be a busy man in the coming months.
We have been brainwashed with the idea that Erling Haaland is the second coming of Jesus Christ. He is the Messiah and has the magic touch. Every single trophy available will be achieved when he comes to Barcelona. We have also been brainwashed to think that the issue with Barcelona is the lack of goals. Nonsense. Top scorers in La Liga this season with almost 20 more goals than Real Madrid.
Transfer discussion and needs
Based on reports, Eling Haaland will play in Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea next season. Kylian Mbappe also has the same queue of clubs that he will play for in the future. Everybody gets the big names, and at the end of the day, both of them are only part of a team, and we tend to forget that so often.
Barcelona has tough decisions to make this summer in terms of playing personnel. Loads of speculations and rumors will circle the media in the coming months, and we can’t do anything about it. However, the team is what it is this season and it needs replenishment, but maybe not through the transfer market necessarily.
Ansu Fati is the most expensive player in Barcelona with Messi and De Jong. Think why that is. Because he is young and has a charming smile? Not really. He missed almost the whole season, and everybody seems to forget his contribution to the team. He played ten games this season, scoring five goals and providing four assists. Close to a goal contribution every game he played.
Ousmane Dembélé has been progressing very nicely, and he seems able to sustain his fitness levels in 2021. Improving his finishing is the only thing left for him to excel to the next level. He is a fantastic footballer. And Lionel Messi is himself. Gluing everything together and still producing like crazy. In 37 games this season, Messi has 29 goals and 13 assists.
My point is that Haaland will bring goals and whatever sizzle and marketing his presence will create. But would you rather take the chance on him and stop the development of Trincão, Fati, Dembélé because of the necessary tactical change , or stick with the young players and turn the page on Barcelona trying to become the new Real Madrid?
The “secure” places
This year has been very turbulent, but the level of performance drastically changed in 2021. If this article came out in December, probably only 3-4 players would’ve made it. However, with the progression of the season, the likes of Alba, Busquets, and Dembele all raised their game and look like they can still be very useful players in the right environment.
By no means this is the team that we should try and keep. This graphic shows the positions in which I feel the club can improve. Obviously, with the unsatisfactory performances of Lenglet and the continuous fitness problems for Pique this season, the need has to be in the heart of the defense. I don’t believe Barcelona will be able to compete for the top trophies next season with those four center backs – Pique, Lenglet, Araujo, Mingueza, Umtiti. I am not suggesting tossing them all out, but a solid reshape of that line is needed.
And in terms of attacking force, I quite enjoy the fluid Barcelona where everyone in the front line can play freely and just look for the space, rather than have a classic big number 9 that will absorb the space in the middle, and potentially taking away the space Messi likes to operate. At the end of the day we don’t think he will go and play on the right wing at the age of 34, do we? And what about those passes from deep? Just keep him as the “False 9” and let him go crazy with weapons everywhere around him.
What is actually the plan?
But in today’s world, people live on social media, and their lives are circling around generating likes and pleasing the audience. When a football club approaches the same tactic – 1.1 billion euros in debt because people will never be pleased and always will want more.
I can’t express how much it pains me that a club like Barcelona transitioned from investing in youth and reaping the benefits of local talent, to now trying to play the game of Manchester City, PSG, and Real Madrid. FC Barcelona will never win that game. That is not in the DNA of the club. Others will always have more finances and opportunities to bring players from outside. What they don’t have is La Masia.
The decade from 2010 to 2020 showed us everything we need to know. Barcelona tried with local talent, trusting its values, and eventually got rewarded with multiple Champions League titles. Later on, the club shifted and tried to become the new “oil-rich” club, and disastrously failed. We are in the new decade now, and the direction of the club this summer will tell us what the club learned from the past ten years.