Barcelona, one of the most famous clubs in the world, are having an unusually poor season. Well, poor by Barcelona standards.
They are on their second manager and are currently trailing rivals Real Madrid by one point, which could go up to four if Real Madrid beat ninth-placed Granada on Monday, with only two games remaining for the Catalans to come back.
They did incredibly poorly in the Copa del Ray, only beating third-tier Ibiza 2-1 thanks to a brace from struggling forward Antoine Griezmann before being eliminated in the Quarter-Finals by Athletic Bilbao thanks to a goal from Inaki Williams.
However, Barcelona aren’t struggling in the Champions League. Barcelona remain undefeated in the Champions League, winning a group that consisted of Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund, and scrappy Slavia Prague. They only played the first leg of a Round-of-16 tie with Napoli, which ended in a 1-1 draw in Naples, before soccer was cancelled due to coronavirus.
Now that everything has returned, Barcelona are struggling and there are rumors that manager Quique Setién has lost control of the dressing room. Lionel Messi fanned the flames, with rumors that he is looking to depart. So Barcelona are looking for players to offload, with 23-year old midfielder Arthur first to go. Many Barcelona youth academy players are set to depart as well, but who is going to go?
Ousmane Dembélé was just 19 when he was sold by French club Stade Rennais to Borussia Dortmund for $16.5 million dollars. Dembélé thrived with Dortmund, contributing to eight Champions League goals and 19 Bundesliga goals, but it still seemed absurd when Dembélé earned a $170,000,000 plus-bonuses move to Barcelona as a replacement for Neymar Jr.
Sadly, things have not worked out for Dembélé in Spain as he has contributed to just 36 goals in 74 games and Barcelona seem desperate to recoup some of the transfer fee they got him for. Still just 23, Dembélé is a big name who won the World Cup in 2018 with France, and has been linked to Manchester United and Premier League champs Liverpool.
Neto was once seen as the potential replacement to Gianluigi Buffon when the Brazilian keeper was signed by Juventus from Fiorentina in 2015. Age 25 at the time, Neto is now 30, going on 31, and Neto never got to replace Buffon. In Neto’s two year Juventus stay, he started just 22 games, mainly Coppa Italia, before being sold to Valencia in 2017.
Neto’s move to Valencia was a great move for all parties involved. Juventus ended up using some of the funds gathered from Neto’s sale to buy Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who has been great for Juventus. Valencia gained an elite goalkeeper, who helped get them in the Champions League for two years running, before they exchanged him for Barcelona backup Jasper Cillessen.
Except Cillessen has been poor so far this season, with just four La Liga clean-sheets in 24 games, and Neto has not played an active role for Barcelona. Barca are looking to find a way to incorporate young goalkeeper Iñaki Peña into the squad and starting goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen isn’t going anywhere, so Neto is likely to be sold. The Brazilian has been linked to a return move to Valencia, or a move to Arsenal, who are also in a rebuilding stage.
Suárez has commonly been linked away from the club he has been with since 2014. The only problem is, there don’t appear to be many interested buyers.
I’ve previously called Suárez the best current Uruguayan player, but Suárez is 33 and under-appreciated at Barcelona, despite scoring 15 La Liga goals. Barcelona seems strangely intent on keeping both Martin Braithwaite and Antoine Griezmann, Messi isn’t going anywhere for the time being, and Barcelona has been linked strongly to Inter Milan striker Lautauro Martinez. Where does that leave Suárez?
Only Inter Miami have seemingly been interested in the Uruguayan, but David Beckham’s club would rather sign Suárez for free once his contract expires in 2021. The logical thing for Barcelona to do would be to offload Suárez in either the summer or winter transfer window to a striker-needy team like Manchester United or to a rich club in China or the Middle East.
Obviously Barcelona are looking to sell so many more players like Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti or maybe even a surprising departure like Ansu Fati. If you would like to see a part two of this article, please let me know in the comments.
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