The 2021/22 season is finally over. For us Barça fans, it was far from a great season. The season started with Messi leaving the club, Koeman failing to pick up what’s left, and leaving the club himself. But then, Xavi came and with him we became more optimistic. Moreover, players like Dani Alves, Ferran, Auba and Adama came in January, and the winter run made us a lot more optimistic about the future. However, there’s still a lot of work to do, and we saw it in the slow ending of the season.
The thing that makes us sad is the fact that we saw our arch rival winning both La Liga and the Champions League this season. Although we managed to beat them 4-0 in Madrid, we still went trophy-less while they can celebrate.
Now, it’s time to sit down and plan the next season so Barça will look great and be competitive again. I trust Xavi, Laporta, Alemany and Jordi Cruyff when it comes to planning the next season. But it might require making some tough decisions.
Step 1 – Making Sure the Club Can Sign Players
We all know that the financial situation of the club is bad, but it’s not because of the 1.3 Billion Euros of debt. One of the first things that President did when he took the office was refinancing the debt so it’s now long term. But yeah, the club has to pay a certain amount every year in order to pay that loan. But for a club that worth so much, it’s not that dramatic. That’s the real answer to the question: “How Barça plan to pay great amount of money for a play like Lewandowski while they’re broke?”
The more severe problem is the FFP, as La Liga has its salary cap, and that’s the bigger problem. With Barça and other clubs losing a lot of money in the last years, the league decided 2 years ago to implement a salary cap. According to that salary cap, clubs can’t pay more than 70% of their yearly income. Last season the financial year ended with Barça paying around 120% of the salary cap, hence why La Liga sanctioned Barça that had a salary cap smaller than Real Sociedad. And without the signing of the CVC deal, Leo and Griezmann had to leave in order to be able to sign any player.
So, what can the club do now?
Sell Players or reduce the salaries
Theoretically, the easiest thing would be to sell players we don’t want anymore. Players like Lenglet, Umtiti, Braithwaite, Neto, Pjanic and more don’t have any room in Barcelona. But they have contracts and the club pay them amounts that no other club would pay them. So, in order for them to leave, the club will have to find a solution. And no, simply terminating their contracts (Like with Matheus Fernandes last summer) won’t be an easy thing to do.
There’s also the solution of selling one of our better players in order to make profit, like Frenkie de Jong. I think most of us don’t like that option, and I see it as a ‘last resort’ and hope that we won’t have to do that. But if that’s the only way that we can finish the season with a profit, and finally be able to sign the necessary players, we might do that.
According to recent reports, an important board meeting is coming and there might be an approval for some financial operations that might inject big money for the club. Financial operations like the new CVC deal, selling a percentage of Barça studios and others can be great for the club. Moreover, they might finally give the club the money we need in order to be able to make the changes this club desperately needs.
Step 2 – Choosing the Right Players to Lead the Project
According to recent reports, Xavi and Laporta are looking to overhaul the squad. Looks like the players that are not in Xavi’s plans already know that. Therefore, Alemany’s job would be to find the best ways to part ways with them. But it will also be a great task to choose the right players for Xavi’s Barça.
With Kessie and Christensen pretty much already Barça players, we can say that the club already brought 2 new players. Moreover, it looks like that Collado and Inaki Pena will return from their loans and at least start the preseason with the team. Others like Pjanic and Trincao will also start the preseason in case the club won’t find a solution for them.
So, for now, here are the positions that the club will look to strengthen.
Looks like it’s the top priority for the club right now. With Auba as the only true striker in the squad, Xavi knows that we lack a player in the middle that would score goals easily. Ansu, Memphis and Ferran can all play as strikers, but Xavi looks to add a top striker to the squad. And we all know who he is. My feeling is that we will get him.
If I were to sit with the technical staff, I would also mention that both Lewa and Auba aren’t very young. So, I would also look for a young striker that we can sign and loan out for a season. Someone like Moukoko (1 year left on his contract) could be a great long term signing for Barça.
A Top Center Back
The club already virtually brought Andreas Christensen, and that’s great. But with the concerns over Pique’s injuries, the club might look for a top center back to be a starter next to Araujo. I see Koulibaly as the ideal signing for that position. And in his case, he also has 1 year left on his contract. He’s 30 years old, and that’s a great age for a center back.
A Right Winger
With Ousmane Dembele most certainly leaving the club, and Adama’s loan over, this position would look different next season. One that will probably play there a lot will be Ferran Torres. I expect the Spaniard to do well next season after the break and playing in his natural position.
The other player will probably be Raphinha. Although Leeds stayed at the Premier League, it looks like the club still wants the Brazilian, and I believe that in the end Leeds and Barça will find an agreement.
The club needs both Right and Left Backs. But with Alves and Dest (And Sergi Roberto) at the right back position, it would be more important to have a backup for Alba. Players like Galan, Grimaldo and Gaya are options. But the rumors are suggesting that Xavi wans Marcos Alonso.
That might give us a clue that the coach is looking to play with 3 at the back. We will have to wait and see.
Kessie and Pablo Torre will join the team for the preseason, and that’s great. But it’s also important to renew Gavi and see if Frenkie stays.
In the worst case scenario of Frenkie leaving, it will be important to find a new player. They talk about Ruben Neves, Carlos Soler or even Bernardo Silva. But it’s still early for that.
Step 3 – Prepare for the Season Properly
The league will start at August 13 and the transfer window, like always, will finish at the end of August. But it’s going to be a weird season, with a World Cup at the middle of it, and it be physically and tactically tough for the players.
It will be very important to sign the players as fast as we can so that Xavi can prepare them the right way. I’m hoping for a ‘boring’ deadline day this time.
Taking into account the great work that Xavi did at Barça so far, we can be optimistic when we look ahead for the summer. However, the mediocre ending of the season reminds us all that the journey for success would be long. The main job of the board is to be able to provide the technical staff with what the club needs. And for that to happen, in the next month we might see some financial operations take place.
I think that the club currently has the right people to lead the project. Personally, I feel excited about next season, as we might finally be able to compete in the elite levels. It might also be the ‘Last Dance’ for some of the club’s veterans. So we hope that they will finish their Barça career with a great season.