With the biggest clubs in Europe looking to find the perfect balance in the transfer market, Sportsjoint brings to you a short season summary of the big boys from across the continent.
Major trophies: Copa Del Rey
The Catalans endured a difficult season both on and off the pitch as their heavily criticised transfer policy once again failed to impress with only Samuel Umtiti being able to impress in his first season. The more expensive signings Paco Alcacer and especially Andre Gomes struggled to match what would have been least expected of them.
Barca had the same old story, problems in defence, terrible away performances and over-reliance on the front three with only one or two of them single-handedly carrying them to a respectable finish both in La Liga and the Champions League. Barcelona is known for their teamwork and formidable understanding in the front six which was usually lacking especially in the away ties against PSG and both games against Juventus. It is ironical that once considered to be the best in midfield Barca now need to look elsewhere with a move for Marco Verrati on the cards to compete with Real Madrid’s formidable trio of Modric, Kroos and Casemiro.Andres Iniesta showed glimpses of his best in the Remontada against PSG but overall looks like a dwindling force and will need to rest more and hence a lot will depend on whom Barca look to replace him with. Raketic and Busquets were two of the better players for the Blaugrana and will need to replicate their performance in the Clasico at the Bernabeu.
The front three are still a force to reckon with but Luis Suarez’s drop in form in the big games and Neymar’s suspension highlighted that Barca needs to provide more game time to Denis Suarez and Arda Turan (if he stays) to keep the front three fresh for the later half of the season. Lionel Messi was as always brilliant both in scoring goals and creating them but found himself isolated in Paris and Turin with his teammates bar Neymar unable to take the game to the opposition and eventually Barca once again fell way short of rivals Real Madrid in the race for the European cup and if there is something Ernesto Valverde needs to learn from Zizu then that is squad rotation and for that he needs squad depth and hence recruitments in the transfer market need to improve.
All in all, it looks like Barca are all set to sign Verrati (reportedly for a fee around 100 million euros) with a move for former La Masia graduate Hector Bellerin and Dortmund’s Dembele also on the cards so it looks like we are in for a major change in the squad for next season but we do not believe that the core of the team and their playing style will alter much under Valverde who is also known for keeping the ball and of course played under Johan Cruyff but will he able to replicate the success achieved by Guardiola and Enrique in their first season in charge, only time will tell.