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The Catalans came close to winning the La Liga and the Champions League last year. What will they do this summer to re-establish their supremacy in Europe and Spain?


                  Last Season's Performance

La Liga: Runners-up

UEFA Champions League: Semi-finalists

Copa Del Rey: Winners


Positions that need reinforcements

 

The injury prone Carles Puyol needs a back up defender

Barcelona’s ageing patriarch Carles Puyol’s absence in key matches last year  proved crucial as they time and again had to improvise in defense. They experimented with the 3-5-2 system utilizing Javier Mascherano as a central defender. There were many matches in which the Catalan defense struggled in the absence of Puyol and below par performances from Gerard Pique. They need to address this issue once and for all and bring in a back up for Puyol. Left back issues have been solved with the signing of Jordi Alba.

The midfield is Barca’s strength as Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets all shined at the Euro 2012. With immense talent on the bench in form of Thiago Alcantra, Ibrahim Afellay and Sergi Roberto, Barca look secure but they lack the services of a critical player in the event of an injury to one of the starters. With Mascherano usually used in defense, Sergio Busquets lacks the back up of a defensive midfielder after Seydou Keita’s departure.

The forward department might need a few touches here and there. David Villa will be making his comeback from injury starting next season and everyone would be expecting “normal” service from him. With Villa to turn 31 this year, there’s a possibility that he may not be as crucial as he was before and that would prompt Alexis Sanchez, Christian Tello, Pedro, Lionel Messi and Isaac Cuenca to put in extra efforts.


Likely Acquisitions


Javi Martinez is the hottest property around in Spain and the Catalans are looking to secure the services of the Bilbao man but face stiff competition from Manchester City and Bayern Munich. Martinez’s versatility could come in handy for Barcelona as he can easily slot in for one of the central defenders and can also support Busquets in the defensive midfield.

Barcelona have already signed Jordi Alba this summer from Valencia. The speedy left back was a revelation for the La Roja at Euro 2012 and would certainly be an asset for Barcelona.


Probable Departures



Departed : Seydou Keita has left the club and will be playing in the Chinese Super League next year for Dalian Aerbin

Ibrahim Afellay was wanted by Lille but the Dutch winger has reportedly rejected a move to France despite the clubs agreeing a transfer fee in the region of €8 million.

Barcelona have already sent Henrique on loan back to Palmeiras. Not a lot of departures are expected from Camp Nou apart from a few youngsters being sent out on loan spells.


Formation

 

GOALKEEPER

Victor Valdes
(Jose Pinto)

RIGHT-BACK
CENTRE BACK
CENTRE BACK
LEFT-BACK

Dani Alves
(Puyol/Montoya)

Puyol
(Martinez?/Mascherano)

Gerard Pique
(Fontas)

Jordi Alba
(Abidal/Adriano)


RIGHT MIDFIELD
CENTRE MIDFIELD
LEFT MIDFIELD

Xavi
(Alcantara/Fabregas)

Sergio Busquets
(Mascherano)

Andres Iniesta
(Ibrahim Afellay)


RIGHT WING
CENTRE FORWARD
LEFT WING

Pedro
(Cuenca)

Lionel Messi
(Sanchez/Fabregas)

David Villa
(Tello/Pedro)


Fan Zone



Anuraag

First of all I have certain qualms over Vilanova. Well I had similar qualms regarding Pep too when he started as a manager and I was proven wrong. I hope I am wrong again. The slot of left back has been the weak link of our team. Though Abidal has been more than reliable, we required a leftback who could venture forward at will and support the attack, providing width like Alves does at the right wing. So signing Alba for €14 million is a bargain securing the lb position for years. I expect Barcelona to sign a centreback and an able short term backup for Busquets since Keita is leaving. Barcelona should buy Daniel Agger. He would fit the system perfectly and his ability is beyond reproach. He has had injury concerns but in a physically less demanding league I expect them to subside. I do not want Afellay to leave. His potential is tremendous. Never has had a chance to stake a claim in the starting eleven.

 


Ranadeep Guha

I think Barcelona have a pretty good youth squad and wouldn't buy someone unless necessary. I am extremely happy that Jordi Alba was signed this year.However, we could have a taller and faster centre-back, to help Pique. But, they shouldn't buy someone in the midfield, with Afellay  and Pedro benched. Moreover, with Villa coming back, even Sanchez could be fighting for a spot. So only a swift center back like Thiago Silva would be something I'd like to see. And I would also love to see Valdes replaced.

 

 

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