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Barcelona Transfer News: 10 Players Who Can Leave


Barcelona Transfer News: 10 Players Who Can Leave

The 2018/19 season is a curious one for FC Barcelona.

Despite winning LA LIGA in a title race, the Catalan Giants failed to make their presence count in cup competitions. They were dumped out of the Champions League in stunning fashion by a resurgent Liverpool side while Valencia were handed a shock defeat in the final of Copa Del Rey.

Going forward, then, they have two options.

First, they could not have anything to do with their opposition. FC Barcelona is routed at Anfield by Liverpool.

Or, with Messi now 32, Barcelona could opt for a shake-up. One that would make a plan to take an early lead or when things start to go wrong – as they did at Anfield. This option seems better for the Catalans considering that Jurgen Klopp – the man who put Barca to the sword – had a plan.

Therefore, it is now in the hands of Ernesto Valverde as to why he or she wants to rebuild the squad now or postpone it until after the retirement of Messi. Whatever option is going to take, one thing is for sure: the future of the club depends on it.Ever since his inauguration as Barcelona manager in 2017, Ernesto Valverde has tried various playing systems.

In his first season at the club, Valverde employed a conservative 4-4-2 system which saw Barcelona conceding the 2nd lowest goals in the league. However, with fans demanding style over substance, the Spaniard has reverted to the traditional 4-3-3 formation ever since.

Formation # 1: 4-3-3

This system saw Barcelona relying on the speed of Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto to unleash attacks on the opposition. Though the backbone of the side lay in its midfield with Busquets pulling the strings to create an optimal balance between defense and attack.

Further forward, Messi played on his usual right-side role – though he occasionally sauntered to the center to trouble opposition defenders. Suarez played in the middle with either Ousmane Dembele or Philippe Coutinho providing cover on the left flank.

Formation # 2: 4-2-2

Most Barcelona fans would be forgiven for not remembering the games in which Valverde employed this formation – as it was used in only 3 games throughout the season. Despite its apparent conservativeness, this formation yielded good results as Barca managed 8 goals in three appearances under it.

With both Suarez and Messi forming Barcelona’s attack line, this formation saw Arturo Vidal shifted to the left side of midfield. Sergi Roberto was given a free hand to play in the right midfield role – with Semedo deputizing as the right full back.In the Barcelona transfer news that is linking every player under the sun with the club, it is easy to forget that the Catalans have won more trophies than any other club in the 21st century. So there obviously are some players in their lineup who are living up to the hype.

Center back

Given the fact that Barcelona finished their season on a low – as they lost two of their last 4 games to see their hopes of a treble being snatched away from them – it was only logical that the ire of the club’s fans would be directed at their defense.

However, while their performances were anything but great in the last few games of the season, all three of Barcelona’s center backs – Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti – had a season of their lives in 2018/19.

For, had it not been the case and Barcelona’s defenders were woeful – as some of their fans alleged after seeing their team put to the sword by Liverpool – the Catalan giants won’t have conceded a mere 31 goals in the entirety of 2018/19 LA LIGA.

What’s more, in addition to getting assured performances from both Pique and Lenglet – both of whom are Valverde’s first choice center backs – even Samuel Umtiti proved his worth when he was given the chance to play last season. So there’s no reason why Barcelona should enter the transfer market in search of a center back.

Left back

If there’s one player in the current Barcelona side – bar Lionel Messi – who show no signs of aging, it has to be their 30-year-old left full-back Jordi Alba. The Spaniard was once again in top form last season as he joined his forces with both Coutinho and Dembele to cause havoc in opposition’s defenses.

In addition to his mazy runs in the opposition final third – which helped Alba provide 8 assists to his teammates last season – it is the chemistry of the Spaniard with the likes of Messi and Suarez which makes him an indispensable player for the Barcelona side.

Furthermore, if Barcelona fans want to know how crucial Alba has been for the team of late, all they have to do is to just ask the likes of Messi and co. Without the service that Alba provides from the left flank, Barcelona’s attacking force might not be as potent as it has been for quite some time now.

Right back

In the summer of 2018, right-back Sergi Roberto attracted interest from a host of clubs. The Spaniard put paid to rumors of him leaving the club by penning a new, long-term contract. Since then, his performances haven’t looked back as the 27-year-old went on to provide 7 assists last season.

On the rare occasion when Roberto was either injured or ruled out due to suspension, his deputy in Nelson Semedo did well to provide cover. So fruitful were his performances that Semedo managed 26 appearances for Barcelona – compared to 29 made by Sergi Roberto.

Therefore, in addition to having in form players, Barcelona also have a depth which many teams lack in their right-back role. Consequently, they have no need to spend money and bring in a new right full-back in the summer of 2019.

Defensive midfield

For Barcelona fans who have been watching the club for the past few years, it should come as no surprise that Sergio Busquets was the best passer in 2018/19 Champions League. The midfielder topped UEFA’s leaderboard by achieving a passing accuracy of 93% last season.

So dependable was Busquets for the club last season that he featured in all but three games for them in LA LIGA – while not missing a single game for Barcelona in the Champions League. Another reason why Barcelona may not need a new defensive midfielder is that they already brought one.

That’s right; with Frankie De Jong joining the club once the transfer window options, Ernesto Valverde might be spoilt for choices when it will come to the defensive midfield department of his team next season. Hence the contention that Barcelona already have enough steel in this department.

Right Wing

For those of you who need to convince themselves that Barcelona could do without bringing in new faces for this position, assure yourself by telling that the club has the likes of Lionel Messi making this position his own. That should be enough to assuage your concerns.

Messi was being himself once again last season as the Argentine ended the campaign with 50 goals and 19 assists to his name. In addition, he created more chances, scored more hat tricks and won more fouls for his team than any other Barcelona player last season.

Also, while Messi wasn’t able to take his team across the finish line in the Champions League, the Argentine wasn’t to blame for the club’s exit at the hands of Liverpool. He managed 12 goals in the Champions League and contributed another 3 to his teammates.When Philippe Coutinho arrived at Barcelona last year, it was not only the astronomical price. The 27-year-old's form for Liverpool also raised hopes that he hit the ground running at the Camp Nou.

Unfortunately for both sides, Coutinho has not been able to conjure the shape which made him a fan favorite at Anfield. Granted, the animosity is shown by some Coutinho's premature exit from the club.

Of all the Barcelona attackers that started over 20 games for the club last season, Coutinho required more minutes (404) to find the net than anybody else. That despite the fact that when Ousmanne Dembele went out injured, the Brazilian was given a long run-in in the side – which he was unable to make count as these stats make clear. Having identified the areas where Manchester United are already well-stocked, let’s turn our attention to the weak points in their squad which need addressing in the summer transfer window.


The 2018/19 season was a highly commendable one for Ter Stegen as he went on to keep 16 clean sheets in LA LIGA. His commanding performances are the back were a major reason behind Barca conceding only 31 goals during the entirety of the season.

However, even though Barcelona might not have liked to splash the cash for this position, the situation surrounding Jasper Cillessen – their number two goalkeeper – paints a different scenario. The Dutchman has been itching for game time which Barcelona can’t provide him as long as Ter Stegen is in the side.

Therefore, while the Spanish Champions might not be needing a new number 1 in the upcoming season, they might want an under-study to Ter Stegen at the club. One that could warm the bench and come on if/when the first choice goalkeeper is out injured.

Left Wing

When he arrived for a hefty price tag of 140m last January, there was hope among the Barcelona faithful that Coutinho would recapture his form after a full pre-season with the club. They were thinking that once the Brazilian had the time to adapt to Barcelona’s style of play, he would come good.

Except that Coutinho’s career at Barcelona hasn’t turned out that way.

During his first full season at the Camp Nou, the poor form of the 27-year-old made sure that he was never guaranteed a starting XI spot.  And that despite the fact that his main rival for the position – Dembele – was out injured for much of the season.

In addition to his poor form in front of goal – Coutinho went for 9 games without scoring, it was the attitude of the Camp Nou crowd towards the Brazilian that further highlighted his woes. Therefore, if Barcelona want to challenge for the Champions League next season, they couldn’t rely on the Brazilian.

Central midfield

To highlight the need for new central midfielder at the club, a mere glance at the number of goals which Barcelona managed last season would be enough. In a season in which the club managed to score 90 goals in the league, none of their central midfielders managed more than 3 goals apiece.

Luckily for the Catalans, they weren’t too dependent on their midfield for goals as the likes of Messi, Suarez and Dembele managed more than 65 goals between them. However, while they were fortunate last season, Ernesto Valverde would do well to not test his luck next season.

For, while Suarez had an age-defying campaign last season, chances are that the best days of the Uruguayan might be past him now. That means that the central midfield would have no choice but to share the goal-scoring burden, or to see a resurgent Real Madrid side overpower them even in LA LIGA.


To his credit, Suarez wasn’t far behind as only Messi managed to score more goals for Barcelona than the Uruguayan last season. The 32-year-old also managed to provide 7 assists to his teammates and won the 3rd most fouls of any player in LA LIGA during the campaign.

However, ask any Barcelona fan about the potential form of Luis Suarez in the upcoming season, and their answer might not be able to satisfy you. Throw into the mix the fact that the Uruguayan would be 33 next season, and it takes no rocket science to determine that Barcelona might need a new striker.

Another thing which should force Barcelona to sign a new striker is their recent history in the transfer market. For every Luis Suarez that the club has signed, there has been a Kevin Prince Boateng too. So it seems only logical that the club learns from its past mistakes and bring in a new striker before showing the door to his predecessor.
When Philippe Coutinho arrived at Barcelona last year, it was not only the astronomical price. The 27-year-old's form for Liverpool also raised hopes that he hit the ground running at the Camp Nou.

Unfortunately for both sides, Coutinho has not been able to conjure the shape which made him a fan favorite at Anfield. Granted, the animosity is shown by some Coutinho's premature exit from the club.Of all the Barcelona attackers that started over 20 games for the club last season, Coutinho required more minutes (404) than anybody else. Ousmane Dembele went injured, the Brazilian was given a long run-in in the side by the manager.

Furthermore, Coutinho went 9 games without scoring a goal. Carroll Alena (0.12) and Gerard Pique (0.11).Unlike Coutinho – who arrived at the club amidst huge expectations – the signing of the veteran Belgian defender was a low-key affair. He was snapped up by the Spanish giants for a transfer fee in the region of £15m on a five-year contract in 2014.

Before his move to Spain, the 33-year-old was plying his trade with Arsenal in the Premier League. His career in North London was a successful one as Vermaelen featured in the heart of the Gunners’ defense for more than 150 times during his five-year stay at the club to an end at the Camp Nou.The main reason why Arsenal decided to let the player leave back then – which is ironically the same reason why Barcelona might decide against extending his contract this year – has to do with the Belgian’s injury troubles.

So grave his injury troubles have become of late that Vermaelen was restricted to making just 12 appearances for the Catalans in the whole of 2018/19 season. Add to the equation that Barca now have the likes of Pique, Lenglet, and Umtiti shoring their back line, and the Belgian’s time is set to come to an end at the Camp Nou.After being frustrated in their attempts to lure PSG and Brazil defender Marquinhos to the club, the Barcelona hierarchy decided to sign the then 22-year-old Umtiti from French club Lyon in 2016. The Spanish side had to see off the likes of Manchester United to bring the defender to the club.

Even back then, Umtiti enjoyed a stellar reputation in France after having a series of brilliant seasons in Ligue 1. His performances earned the Frenchman a place in France’s Euro 2016 squad and he was also a part of the French side which won the World Cup in 2018.

Unluckily, while he has been performing brilliantly for his national team, Umtiti hasn’t been a continuous presence in Barcelona’s back four. Repeated injuries have robbed him of precious game time as the 25-year-old managed to play a paltry 1189 minutes in LA LIGA last season.

Due to his visibly slowing pace, the 25-year-old was culpable for making 4 defensive errors that led to goals last season. Also, with Manchester United lurking in the shadows to sign the player which they missed out on in 2016, Barcelona might do well to cash in on Umtiti this summer.Rafinha is one of the few players in the current Barcelona squad that came up through the club’s world-famous academy system. He signed his first contract with the club in 2006 as a 13-year-old and went through the ranks of Barcelona B before making his debut for the senior team in 2011.

Although he showed great promise in his first two years at the senior level, lack of game time combined with competition for places forced Barcelona to loan out the 26-year-old to Celta Vigo in 2013. However, despite the loan spell being highly successful, the player has been unable to make his mark.In addition to the competition for places – as the likes of Arturo Vidal, Sergi Roberto, and Rakitic play in the same position as Rafinha – it is the poor injury record of the Spaniard which might force Barcelona to cut him off their wage bill next season.

For instance, when it comes to playing time, an early-season injury restricted the 25-year-old to just 223 minutes on the pitch. Throw into the mix the fact that Rafinha managed neither a goal nor an assist last season, and it is easy to see why some people feel that his time at the club might soon come to an end.Every once in a while, a club ends up signing a player which leaves its fans scratching their heads. Unable to fathom the reason behind the signing, fans have no choice but to rally behind the new face in a hope that he would prove their fears wrong and come good.

Unfortunately for the Barcelona fans, Kevin Prince Boateng is one of those players whose signing made as little sense in January 2019 when Barcelona snapped him up on a six-month loan deal as it makes now as his contract with Barcelona is nearing expiry would move back to Italy in the summer.Since 2016, the ex-Ghana international had played for five different clubs before Barcelona came knocking at his door. As they found out, the reason behind Boateng switching clubs too often lay in the fact that his best days are now well-past him.

So poor was his form at Barcelona that even Ernesto Valverde – who was rumored to be one of the biggest backers of Boateng – was unable to grant the 32-year-old much game time last season. As a result, after playing only 4 games for Barcelona in a six-month loan spell, Boateng would move back to Italy in the summer.
Signed from Ajax in the summer transfer window of 2016 for £11.1m, Cillessen was viewed by many at the Camp Nou as the long-term replacement of Claudio Bravo. The Chilean had recently left to join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and it was believed that Barca were getting an upgrade in the Dutchman.

However, while the expectation was that Cillessen would be rotated alongside Ter Stegen, the arrival of Ernesto Valverde in 2017 relegated the Dutchman to the sidelines. That was understandable, though, given the excellent form the German shot-stopper had showcased in the last few seasons.With time running out on his career – as Cillessen would be 31 next season – the 2018/19 season was billed as a make-or-break for the Dutch goalkeeper. As it turned out, things went further south for Cillessen as he played only 90 minutes during the entirety of the season.

Provided the Dutchman does decide to leave, there will be no shortage of potential suitors for his signature. That said, the fact that Barcelona expect any club which might want to sign Cillessen to pay his release clause of €60million might prove to be a big stumbling block.So why wasn’t he able to earn the trust of manager Ernesto Valverde? For starters, Murillo can’t be blamed for lack of game time. Instead, it is the form of other Barcelona defenders – those which are ahead of him in the pecking order – which relegated the Spaniard to the bench.

For instance, with the likes of Pique and Umtiti playing 4700 minutes between them last season – and Lenglet waiting in the wings in case either of the front two went out injured – playing time was nothing more than a pipe-dream for the 26-year-old.

Ask Barcelona fans, and many of them might not even know that Jeison Murillo was playing for the club last season. One cannot blame them as after his loan move in January transfer window, the Spanish international managed to make only 4 appearances for Barcelona before the end of the season.

While his short stint at Barcelona didn’t pan out as expected, Murillo has plenty to look forward to as far as his career is concerned. He has played for the likes of Valencia and Inter Milan in his career, and was voted as the 3rd best player in the 2016 Copa America.

Provided Rakitic decides to leave Barcelona, he’d be a big hit no matter where he goes. Even from his role as a deep-lying midfielder, Rakitic managed to score 3 and assist 5 goals to his teammates. He also formed a brilliant bridge between attack and defense as Barcelona stood tall on both fronts.

Furthermore, while he might be turning 31 next season, Rakitic shows no signs of slowing down. The Croatian played more minutes (2643) than both Coutinho (2018) and Sergi Roberto (2088) last season although both of them are younger in age.Owing to his great performances for both club and country – as he was one of the main players in Croatia’s squad that reached 2018 World Cup Final – Ivan Rakitic has been a star of Barcelona transfer news as he attracts interest from the likes of Manchester United and PSG.

But with Barcelona completing the signing of Frankie De Jong from FC Ajax, serious doubts have emerged regarding the future of Rakitic at the club. Not only does the Dutchman has age on his side, but he has experience too – as demonstrated by his performances in the Champions League next season.Fast forward a year, and Malcolm is yet to showcase the form which would justify Barcelona going all out for the Brazilian. In his first season at the club, the 22-year-old had a minute to goal ratio of 614 – one which puts him behind the likes of youngster Carles Alena and just ahead Arturo Vidal.

Additionally, of the 15 games that he played for Barca last season – 9 of them saw Malcolm coming off the bench. That indicates that Ernesto Valverde doesn’t trust the attacking midfielder as much as he trusts other members of the Barcelona squad.In contrast to most other players which might leave Barcelona in the summer transfer window, Malcolm is young with his best playing days still ahead of him. Like most of them, however, it is the lack of form which might force him out of the club in the coming months.

Signed from Bordeaux for a hefty sum of £36.5m, Malcolm was increasingly linked with AS Roma before his eventual move to the Camp Nou. So bitter was the whole transfer saga that AS Roma were thinking of initiating legal action against Bordeaux.One such player is Denis Suarez who spent the last season on loan at Premier League club Arsenal. His spell in England was nothing short of a disappointment. The Spaniard managed just 4 appearances for the Gunners all season – none of which resulted in a goal

In none of those four appearances did Suarez manage a goal or assist to his name. In fact, Suarez could find a place at Barcelona's team for next season.

Barcelona squad as their Champions League humiliation at the hands of Liverpool. Coming into the 2 nd leg with a 3-0 advantage from the first, Barcelona were stunned them four times at Anfield.

Immediately after that defeat, at introspection started at the club with Spain-based newspapers questioning the utility of fringe players to the club. After all, if what you said, if you can not help bail out the club, do not be in Barcelona be well off without them.
Ironically, that’s the same reason why the Spanish Champions should try and re-sign the Brazilian. When he was at Barcelona, it was his theatrics and not the form which troubled the Barcelona fans. Now that Neymar has learned his lessons the hard way, he might be welcomed back in the fold.

What’s more, while his reputation might have taken a hit, Neymar’s form is still intact. He managed to score 15 and assist 7 goals despite playing only 17 games in an injury-ravaged season. Throw into the mix his relationship with Messi and Suarez, and Barcelona could do well with Neymar back onboard.When Neymar completed his world-record transfer to PSG in 2017, those close to the Brazilian hoped that the move away from Messi would see Neymar cement his reputation as one of the three best players in the world.

Fast forward two years and Neymar is still as far away from the likes of Messi and Ronaldo as he was back then. If anything, his on-field theatrics and off-field shenanigans have further sullied the reputation of a player many predicted would be among the world’s best for years to come.Although Willian managed to score only 3 goals last season, he should have scored more as the Brazilian hit the woodwork 4 times last season. He still proved his worth to the Chelsea squad by providing 6 assists to his teammates.

What’s more, while he will be 31 next season, Willian is showing no signs of slowing down. The Brazilian started 26 games for Chelsea and rarely did he came off injured. So if Barcelona are able to sign him, they’d be bringing in a workhorse.

In a move that nobody saw coming, Barcelona made a cash-plus-player offer to Chelsea in the January transfer window in a bid to sign Willian. The Spanish giants were prepared to offer up to £38 million for the Brazilian and send Malcolm the other way.

While Chelsea rejected the offer straight away – as the club was busy preparing for a potential transfer ban – Barcelona might again come knocking for the 30-year-old in the summer. Still, now that the transfer ban on Chelsea is in place, it would take a mammoth offer to force the Blues to consider letting their star player leave.While his pass completion rate of 82.8 percent is nothing to gloat about, the fact that the Spaniard managed 1 key pass per game last season suggests that he could be a long-term successor to Jordi Alba at Barcelona.

Despite playing only his first season in LA LIGA, Firpo registered five assists and scored three goals in 2018/19. That suggests that the young left full-back has more than an eye for goal.Signed by Real Betis in 2016 from Spanish minnows CD Puerto, Firpo plied his trade for Betis B for three years before making his senior-team debut last year. His first season at the senior level was a revelation as the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Liverpool were all linked with him.

In order to know why that’s the case, the stats of Firpo go a long way in cementing his reputation as one of the best upcoming full-backs in Europe.Although he featured in a sizable 27 games for Inter last season, it cannot be ignored that 14 of those appearances came from the bench. That’s the main reason why no other Inter Milan player managed to score more goals from the bench than the 22-year-old.

His prowess in front of the goal could also be gauged from the fact that Martinez managed 0.22 goals per game last season. The minutes per goal ratio of the Argentine – which stood at 224 minutes per goal – perched him above the likes of seasoned veterans Ivan Perisic (328).There is a long history of the relationship between Inter Milan and Argentine strikers. From the club legend Diego Milito to their current club captain Mauro Icardi, the club has enjoyed huge success when an Argentine is leading their attack.

Based on this history, nobody at Inter was in doubt back when the club paid a handsome amount of £20m to acquire the services of Lautaro Martinez from Racing Club. Fortunately for the club, the Argentine has come good for them – as suggested by his name being liked with Barcelona.A combative midfielder who could break the opposition's attacks, Niguez committed the 3 rd most fouls for any atletico midfielder last season. That fearless attitude made him a nuisance for the Referees as Niguez was the most booked 2 player last term.

However, it is not the defensive side of his game which has made Niguez into a formidable midfielder. The 24-year-old was the 3 rd top scorer for Atletico Madrid with 4 goals last season and he had an assist to his name. Consequently, if they are up, they'll get a box-to-box midfielder.

Although Barcelona currently has no need for a new central midfielder, the situation depends on the decision of Ivan Rakitic. The Croatian International was reportedly unsettled at the Camp Nou last term, with teams like PSG and Manchester

If the Croat does not move, Barcelona would have a huge problem on their hands. 24 year-old Saul Niguez has made a name for himself at the Camp Nou.

Until now, we were concerned with players who are on the wish list of most Liverpool fans.

From here on, we’d concern ourselves with players whom Liverpool can sign in the summer.Position he’d occupy: Center back

The 2018/19 season was a sensational one for the 19-year-old as he made his name with both club and country. In addition to being a major force behind Ajax reaching the semifinals of the Champions League, de Ligt also played his part in taking his national side to the finals of UEFA Nations League.

Moreover, as far as Barcelona are concerned, de Ligt is a tailor-made defender for them. Not only does he as his best playing years ahead of him but De Ligt also comes from a team which has the same playing style as Barcelona.What’s more, despite his young age, the Dutchman isn’t rash in taking decisions. That’s the reason why despite playing more minutes than any other Ajax player in the Eredivisie last season, De Ligt made only 23 fouls in the whole of the campaign.

Yet another area where the Dutchman might help the Spanish Champions is the goals he scores. The Dutchman scored 3 goals in the league last season – just 2 less than what Gerard Pique managed to score at Barcelona. That means that in addition to solidifying their defense, de Ligt would also give Barcelona’s set pieces a new attacking dimension.Position he'd occupy: Striker

Most of you might be aware of the transfer saga involving Griezmann and Barcelona which unfolded last year. After a summer in which it seemed that the Frenchman was going to Barcelona, Griezmann took to social media in grand-stand fashion to reject any overtures from Camp Nou.

This time, however, things are different. For one, there’s a wave of change at Atletico Madrid – one which has seen members of the old guard leaving the club. Diego Simeone is looking to build a team for the future and needs money to bring in new faces into the club.

Also, while they might be a year late in getting Griezmann, they’d still be getting a striker in red hot form. Griezmann scored more goals than any other Atletico Madrid player last season while also having the most assists to his name during that period.

More importantly, with Suarez entering the twilight of his career, injuries have started to take a toll on him. That isn’t the case with Griezmann who played the 2nd most minutes for any Atletico Madrid player last year.Position he’d occupy: Winger/Striker

In contrast to other players who are linked with Barcelona, Maxi Gomez isn’t a household name. Part of the reason for that lies with the fact that the Uruguayan plies his trade with a lowly Celta Vigo side. Still, if goal-scoring charts are the standard, then the 23-year-old is right up there with the best.

Picked up for a meager €5million in the 2017 summer transfer window, the Uruguayan scored twice on his debut to provide a glimpse of his potential. From then on, his career has gone north as Gomez went on to score 31 goals in 71 appearances for the club.

Despite playing as an under-study to Iago Aspas, Gomez scored 13 and provided 5 assists to his teammates last season. The striker featured in all but three games for Celta in the league – a further demonstration of his impeccable fitness which makes the 22-year-old endearing to his potential suitors.

One more thing about his game which makes Gomez a potential star in the making is his shots per goal ratio of 5.54. That put him just behind the likes of Messi, Suarez, and Dembele – underlining his qualities as a finisher.

Position he’d occupy: Goalkeeper

At the time of writing this piece, negotiations between both the clubs are at an advanced stage regarding the transfer of Neto. It is also reported that Valencia wants Jasper Cillessen to be included as part of any deal that would see the Brazilian move the other way.

What makes Neto a special signing is the large presence of the goalkeeper between the sticks. Standing at almost two meters, the goalkeeper is 29-year-old is agile beyond his years and has quick reflexes to deflect the incoming shots.In the 2018/19 season, Neto was one of the major reasons behind Valencia finishing in the top four of LA LIGA table. The Brazilian kept 10 clean sheets last season and saved a penalty to help his team mount a formidable defense.

Furthermore, even though he conceded more shots than any other top four goalkeepers in LA LIGA, Neto ended up conceding only 35 goals throughout the season. That level of performance helped Valencia boast the 2nd most miserly defense in the Spanish top division.Position he’d occupy:  Midfielder

At the cost of sounding biased, Christian Eriksen was one of the major reasons behind Tottenham making it to the Champions League final last season. The 27-year-old Danish forward was in sublime form as Spurs brushed past the likes of Manchester City and Ajax in the knockout rounds.

However, despite putting in one of his best performances throughout the season, Eriksen and his teammates finished the season empty-handed. They had nothing to show for apart from a Champions League place for next season for all their efforts.If Eriksen does decide that his time in London is up, there are plenty of reasons why Barcelona should come calling for the dynamic central midfielder. The Danish managed to score 8 goals at a rate of 0.23 goals per game.

Furthermore, no other Tottenham player made as many as the 12 assists that Eriksen provided to his teammates last season. He also scored more match-winning goals and tops the chart in goals from direct free kicks as well. Hence, if Barcelona are to sign him, they’d be getting a complete package.
As a mere glance at the club’s recent trophy haul makes clear, Barcelona are currently enjoying the most successful era in their history. The club has won four of the eight of the last ten league titles – winning two Champions League titles during the same period.

Even though they have enjoyed so much success of late, the club needs a major overhaul of their team for the following reasons:It’s a part of Barcelona tradition that before the start of every season, their captain delivers a speech at Camp Nou outlining the team’s goals for next season. Last August, with Messi being the captain, he delivered a speech with a one-point agenda: win the Champions League.

Still recovering from that AS Roma comeback of a few months ago, Messi knew that it was only going all out and winning the trophy that would heal the wounds of Barcelona faithful. What he didn’t know at that time that come May 2019, the club would be at the receiving end of yet another comeback.

While it was AS Roma the season before, now was the turn of Liverpool to heap misery on the Catalans. The English club didn’t care that they were 3-0 down from the first leg. They didn’t had to. Barcelona were so intoxicated by their first leg lead that even when Liverpool were ripping them apart, they had no plan B. Nothing to counter what was coming their way. They were rabbits caught in headlights.

That harrowing defeat at Anfield – just like the defeat at Stadio Olimpico a year earlier – made one thing clear. Some of the current crop of Barcelona players don’t have in them to perform at the biggest stage. So if Barcelona want to bring the trophy back home, they need new, reliable players.

10 most expensive football transfers of all time - as of 31st March 2019

RankPlayerFrom/ ToYearFee
1NeymarBarca/PSG2017€ 222m
2Kylian MbappéMonaco/PSG2017€ 180m
3Philippe CoutinhoLiverpool/Barca2018€ 120m
4Ousmane DembeléDortmund/Barca2017€ 105m
5Paul PogbaJuve/ManU2016€ 105m
6CR7Real Madrid/Juve2018€ 103m
7Gareth BaleTottenham/Real 2013€ 100m
8CR7ManU/Real Madrid2009€ 94m
9Gonzalo HiguainNapoli/Juve2016€ 90m
10NeymarFC Santos/Barca2013€ 90m
One criticism which Barcelona fans have repeatedly leveled at the club is that once one comes down from their starting XI, they have no quality on the bench. They complain that whenever Messi goes injured, the club is down to its bare bones.

To counter this criticism, the club has repeatedly hinted that it is the size of Messi’s wages which prevents them from spending money on new players. Not that they are complaining about it. Yet it is a fact which Barcelona’s higher-ups want their fans to understand when the latter demands for trophy signings.

Except that it doesn’t have to be this way. Barcelona may be paying Messi a lion’s share in wages, but they have also squandered more than £300m on the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Dembele. Money, if they had spent it shrewdly, might have addressed some areas of concern in the squad.

However, as they brought in both Coutinho and Dembele, Barcelona’s bench strength went south. In that game against Liverpool, for example, they had only two attacking options on the bench: Malcolm and Arthur. Both of them had a combined total of 1 goal coming into that game.

So when those on the pitch capitulated in the face of intense Liverpool pressure, Barcelona had no option on the bench which could turn the game around. They were doomed even before the final whistle.On the face of it, the fact that the current Barcelona team has an average age of 26.1 years suggests that the club has a squad for the future. Dig a little deep, and you might realize that things are not as rosy as they seem to be.

That’s because most of the young players in the Barcelona squad – those who are responsible for bringing down the squad’s average age to a respectable level – sit on the bench. They have little say in the team fielded by Ernesto Valverde every week.

To explain this point, let’s look at the average age of the XI which started the 2nd leg quarter-final against Liverpool. Excluding Messi, since age is just a number for him, that starting XI had six players at or over the age of 30.

It shouldn’t be surprising to note, then, that the average starting XI age of Barcelona that day was 29.5 years – three years more than the average age of the lineup which Liverpool fielded that day. Little wonder then that as Liverpool players were live wires, Barcelona’s were rabbits caught in headlights.

Liverpool FC Bought 20 Players for £382,850,000 Since October 2015 (31st May 2019)

Marko GrujićRed Star Belgrade£5,100,0006th Jan, 2016
Shamal GeorgeLFC Youth System£06th Jan, 2016
Kamil GrabaraRuch Chorzow£300,00015th Jan, 2016
Sadio ManeSouthampton£30,000,00028th Jun, 2016
Loris KariusMainz 05£4,700,0001st Jul, 2016
Joel MatipSchalke 04£01st Jul, 2016
Ragnar KlavanFC Augsburg£4,200,00020th Jul, 2016
Alex ManningerFree Transfer£022nd Jul, 2016
Georginio WijnaldumNewcastle United£25,000,00022nd Jul, 2016
Nat PhillipsBolton£01st Aug, 2016
Mohammed SalahAS Rome£34,000,00022nd Jun, 2017
Andy RobertsonHull City£8,000,00021st Jul, 2017
Alex Oxlade-ChamberlainArsenal£35,000,00031st Aug, 2017
Virgil van DijkSouthampton£75,000,0001st Jan, 2018
FabinhoAS Monaco£39,300,00028th May, 2018
Naby KeïtaRB Leipzig£52,500,0001st Jun, 2018
Xherdan ShaqiriStoke City£13,500,00013th Jul, 2018
Alisson BeckerAS Rome£56,250,00019th Jul, 2018
Ki-Jana HoeverAjax£01st Aug, 2018
If there's one thing which the FC Barcelona has seen in the 2018/19 season, it will not be ready to take the next step and win the Champions League. With Real Madrid strengthening as well, the Catalan grip on LA LIGA might be in jeopardy. 

That leaves the club with only one option: invest shrewdly in the transfer market. While some of the players in the abovementioned list might cost them big bucks, most of them can be brought in for cheap. Unless Barcelona bring both of them to the Camp Nou, their wait for the next Champions League title is expected to grow by each passing year.

Liverpool FC Sold 26 Players for £289,000,000 Since October 2015 (31st May 2019)

Jordan RossiterGlasgow Rangers£250,00013th May, 2016
Joao TeixeiraFC Porto£030th Jun, 2016
Jerome SinclairWatford£01st Jul, 2016
Sergi CanosNorwich City£2,500,00010th Jul, 2016
Martin SkrtelFenerbahce£5,500,00013th Jul, 2016
Jordon IbeBournemouth£15,000,00013th Jul, 2016
Joe AllenStoke City£13,000,00025th Jul, 2016
Brad SmithAFC Bournemouth£3,000,00027th Jul, 2016
Christian BentekeCrystal PalaceCrystal Palace19th Aug, 2016
Luis AlbertoLazio£4,300,00031st Aug, 2016
Mario BalotelliNice£031st Aug, 2016
Joe MaguireFleetwood Town£013th Jan, 2017
Tiago IloriReading£2,500,00018th Jan, 2017
Andre WisdomDerby County£2,000,0001st Jul, 2017
Lucas LeivaLazio£5,000,00018th Jul, 2017
Kevin StewartHull City£7,000,00021st Jul, 2017
Mamadou SakhoCrystal Palace£26,000,00031st Aug, 2017
Philippe Coutinho Barcelona£142,000,0007th Jan, 2018
Cameron BrannaganOxford United£250,00011th Jan, 2018
Jordan WilliamsRochdale£014th Jul, 2018
Paulo AlvesWolves£019th Jul, 2018
Ragnar KlavanCagliari£2,000,00017th Aug, 2018
Dominic SolankeBournemouth£19,000,0004th Jan, 2019
Lazar MarkovicFulham£031st Jan, 2019

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