Barcelona Doubts over two thirds of the players
Barcelona are clear about which players they are counting on for next season and those who they would be happy to see leave this summer.
These are things that have been known for months, long before the season’s disappointing end, and the club are hoping that 2019/20 delivers more silverware than 2018/19 did.
Signings will arrive, but first players must move on and if the club want to sign well then they need to put more than two thirds of their current crop of players on the market.
Lionel Messi, logically, is the most untouchable players and there will be no discussions about his future.
He’s their leader, their star and their symbol.
Luis Suarez is similarly sound in his position, as are Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The latter, in particular, is considered one of the best in the world in his position and the club’s happiness with him goes beyond his on-field performances, as they’re also pleased with how the German identifies with the fans and the club’s ideals.
Most other players are facing uncertain futures, as the Anfield fiasco and the Copa del Rey defeat to Valencia have the club considering a clear-out.
There are some players who will definitely leave the Camp Nou.
Thomas Vermaelen, Jeison Murillo and Kevin-Prince Boateng won’t be there next season, while others will also be shopped around or are even looking for exits themselves.
Players in this group include Jasper Cillessen, Nelson Semedo, Samuel Umtiti, Ivan Rakitic, Andre Gomes, Denis Suarez, Malcom and Philippe Coutinho.
But there is an awareness that moving players on won’t be easy.
Umtiti and Rakitic, for example, have no plans to find a new club and have said as much publicly, even though Barcelona are particularly keen to get rid of the French defender with Matthijs de Ligt being pursued.
Rakitic‘s situation is somewhat different.
Ernesto Valverde wants him in his team, as the Croatian was one of his most-used players last season, accumulating 54 games.
But those upstairs are happy to consider any offers that land in their inboxes.
Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez‘s departures are a little clearer, as are those of Cillessen and Coutinho, but offers need to arrive.
Semedo‘s situation is similar and, with him open to a move, Barcelona are waiting for an offer they can’t refuse.
In terms of replacements for those who depart, Valverde already knows that he has Frenkie de Jong and he trusts that De Ligt will follow his compatriot and Ajax teammate.
The Dutchmen aside, the targets aren’t so clear, but it’s known that a left-back and centre-forward are wanted.
Contact is being made with other teams, but nothing is finalised yet.
The summer could be long at the Camp Nou.