September 21, 2023

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The Health Maniacs

After season to forget, Barcelona faces difficult rebuild

Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez gestures during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Betis and Barcelona at Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville, Spain, Saturday, May 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Jose Breton)

Barcelona’s head coach Xavi Hernandez gestures throughout the Spanish La Liga soccer match among Authentic Betis and Barcelona at Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville, Spain, Saturday, Could 7, 2022. (AP Image/Jose Breton)


It really is been a prolonged, prolonged year for Barcelona.

Lionel Messi left in tears just before it begun. Ronald Koeman was shortly fired. The group dropped out of the Champions League and into the Europa League, and then could not even arrive close to successful it.

The return of previous wonderful Xavi Hernández as coach and some savvy signings in January at some point led to some convincing wins, but the crew that once dominated Spanish soccer unsuccessful to generate a title for the next time in a few a long time.

Barcelona even now has two league video games remaining, but ensuring a next-area finish is actually the only point to engage in for. The club’s focus is now to guarantee that future period is an advancement.

That, nonetheless, may possibly prove difficult.

Barcelona is still struggling with monumental financial issues that have presently performed a aspect, according to Xavi, in quashing any hopes it had of luring Erling Haaland, 1 of the biggest names on the market, to Spain.

“We just could not compete on an financial stage. I want him the finest of luck,” Xavi claimed about Haaland just after Manchester Town declared the signing of the younger Norway striker on Tuesday.

Xavi and club official Jordi Cruyff reportedly achieved with Haaland in early March to attempt to convince him to appear to the Camp Nou.

Barcelona’s finances were being ruined by the impression of the pandemic and the unsustainable paying of earlier club president Josep Bartomeu. Its financial debt ballooned to 1.3 billion euros ($1.36 billion), leading the Spanish league to slash its salary cap this season to 97 million euros ($110 million) — more than seven instances lesser than rival Authentic Madrid.

The club now operate by Joan Laporta did really perfectly in adding gamers to its squad midseason. Technological director Mateu Alemany secured the transfer of Ferran Torres from Town, the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a free agent, and a loan deal to bring again Adama Traoré.

Aubameyang and Torres right away clicked and solved Barcelona’s scoring woes. Its shocking 4- victory at Madrid in March ended up currently being the sole highlight of a lousy season. In any other case, there was the ignominy of dropping in the team phase of the Champions League for the initial time in approximately two many years. The group then was beaten by Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarterfinals. It under no circumstances competed with Madrid in the league title race, and was ousted from the Copa del Rey in the spherical of 16 by Athletic Bilbao.

To boost on all those benefits, Alemany, Cruyff and Laporta have some big choices to make in a incredibly tight funds.

“This year was not constructive simply because we did not struggle for titles and any person who can come will be welcome,” Xavi said. “The financial problem is what it is and players will have to leave for some others to come. The predicament is sophisticated, it is extremely difficult, but we have to get reinforcements to be aggressive. That is a actuality.”

Barcelona is reportedly probing its possibilities of signing Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, who is trapped in deal negotiations with the Bundesliga champions.

But it also have to solve many thoughts regarding players now in the squad.

A single of Barcelona’s priorities is seeing if it can signal Ousmane Dembélé to a new, much less expensive offer. Dembélé, whose agreement is up at the conclude of the time, rejected features from other golf equipment in January. Given that then, he has grow to be a critical piece of Xavi’s assault. The Frenchman, whose contract is reportedly the highest on Barcelona’s payroll following the exits of Messi and Philippe Coutinho, is set to end the season as the Spanish league’s prime aid-maker.

The club succeeded in finding veterans Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti to all lessen their salaries. The 24-year-aged Dembélé may possibly be a substantially tougher prospect given his age and his rough-to-exchange talents.

Barcelona also has to make a decision if it will pay out Wolverhampton to make Traoré’s move long term. The winger did not perform as a lot as anticipated so if the club can resign Dembélé, then it is less most likely to hold Traoré.

Spanish sports activities media speculates that midfielder Frenkie de Jong and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen could be up for sale, if the cost is suitable. The German keeper has underperformed for the past two seasons, whilst Barcelona has other alternatives in midfield.

Amid so substantially uncertainty, the club has succeeded in offering Xavi with some security by locking down two of its younger gamers that it hopes can be pillars for the upcoming. Both equally Spain midfielder Pedri González, 19, and Uruguay defender Ronald Araújo, 23, signed new promotions this season to tie them up until eventually 2026.

The club is negotiating a new deal with Gavi Páez, who, along with fellow midfielder Nico González, delivered some of the couple of shiny places for Barcelona this time. Nico was having a breakout time early on less than Koeman, but as soon as Xavi took above in November his minutes dried up. Now his future at Barcelona could hinge on the departure of De Jong.

Barcelona’s way ahead will also depend on the wellbeing of Ansu Fati, who at 19 has absent from teen superstar to getting half forgotten due to the fact of his terrible luck with accidents. He lately returned to the field and, if he can stay wholesome, would appear to be a great chief for Xavi’s rebuild.


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