As the preseason approaches, with the first match of Barcelona scheduled for the 22nd of this month, let’s take a closer look at the current squad and how it may shape up by the end of the transfer window.
Starting with the team captains, there are currently two appointed, with two more yet to be named.
Sergi Roberto – First Choice Captain: Barring any significant transfer offers, Sergi Roberto is set to be the first-choice captain for Barcelona next season. The versatile 31-year-old can contribute in both the full-back and midfield positions. Last season, due to injuries, Roberto predominantly played in midfield, but he also filled in at right-back during Kounde’s absence. He is a valuable squad player and will provide experience from the bench in the upcoming season.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen – Second Choice Captain: The German international, who joined Barcelona in 2014, earned the captain’s armband last season after Pique’s retirement. Ter Stegen, the winner of the Zamora Trophy, is expected to start every match as the second-choice captain, given Sergi Roberto’s limited first-team opportunities.
The 24-year-old goalkeeper is set to continue as the backup for Ter Stegen. Despite receiving offers, Pena decided to stay at Barcelona after a short loan spell at Galatasaray in 2022, believing he has a chance to secure the starting goalkeeper position in the future.
The young goalkeeper’s future is uncertain as his contract with Barcelona is nearing its end. Tenas has expressed his desire to stay at the club for his entire career, but it remains to be seen what decision the club will make.
Widely regarded as one of the best center-backs in recent times, Araujo is adored by Barcelona fans for his dedication and devotion to the club. Many supporters would like to see him named as one of the captains next season. While Araujo already acts as a leader on and off the field, it is a logical step for the club to give him the captain’s armband to lead them to success in the future.
Despite numerous rumors surrounding his future, Kounde put an end to speculation with a public statement on Twitter. As one of the top center-backs and a key player in France’s defense, Kounde primarily played as a right-back last season. Although he is not particularly fond of the position, he has consistently displayed a positive attitude and fulfilled the expectations of coach Xavi. Xavi holds Kounde in high regard and assured him that he will play in his preferred center-back role in the coming seasons, making him an important figure for Barcelona.
A surprise addition, Christensen arrived on a free transfer last summer and quickly became a fan favorite. The defender possesses excellent qualities and maintains a professional attitude. He considers his move to Barcelona a dream come true and is expected to stay at the club for many years to come.
A contender for the Golden Boy award. Alejandro Balde established himself as one of the best left-backs in the world last season. His impressive performances saved Barcelona millions of euros and prompted Jordi Alba to leave the club to make way for Balde. Despite an unfortunate injury that might prevent him from participating in the preseason in the US, Balde is set to be the starting left-back in the upcoming season and many seasons to come.
Marcos Alonso, who joined on a free transfer from Chelsea last summer, primarily played as a left center-back due to injury issues. However, he is expected to return to his original position as a left-back next season, providing backup for Balde. Xavi sees Alonso as a reliable option from the bench, particularly for delivering crosses from deep positions, a role previously held by Jordi Alba.
Both the club and the player’s entourage are aware that Garcia will have limited playing time next season. However, Garcia has expressed his desire to stay at Barcelona and prove his worth. Although he has received offers from other clubs, his intention is to represent Barcelona. While he may end up joining another team in the coming months, he remains a valuable option from the bench, especially in less prominent matches.
Having joined the club in January, Julian Araujo is expected to feature in the league for Barcelona this season. Although his role is not yet assured, the club sees potential in him due to the lack of right-back options in the team.
The 28-year-old defender, who arrived at Barcelona in 2018, has struggled to find his place in the squad. Following a one-year loan spell at Tottenham Hotspur, where he regained his confidence, the club has been trying to offload him for some time. There have been talks of a transfer with minimal fees.
Sergino Dest, one of Ronald Koeman’s signings, remains in the squad. However, Xavi lacked confidence in Dest last season and left him out of the preseason squad list. Consequently, the club loaned him to A.C. Milan, where his form did not improve. The club will actively seek to offload him before the end of the window.
The recent signing from Athletic Club is creating a buzz around the club. Brought in on a free transfer, the experienced left-footed center-back has been on Barcelona’s radar for years. He is considered an important addition to the squad and is expected to provide defensive depth. His aggressive defensive skills and fearless one-on-one abilities make him a valuable asset for the backline.
The 18-year-old left-footed center-back is one of Barcelona’s new signings this summer. While the club initially plans for him to play for Barca Atletic, Xavi has requested his presence during the preseason tour in the US. Faye is regarded as one of the top young talents in the defensive area.
Frenkie de Jong
The Dutch maestro, currently the second most experienced midfielder in the squad, reached his peak under Xavi’s guidance last season. Despite the club agreeing on a fee with another Premier League club, De Jong chose to stay and became a vital player for Barcelona. His commitment to succeeding at Barcelona is evident, and he even wore the captain’s armband towards the end of last season.
Alongside Christensen, Kessie arrived on a free transfer last summer. He proved to be a valuable squad player, making significant contributions when coming off the bench. Kessie’s performances have attracted interest from Premier League clubs and Saudi clubs. Barcelona is seeking a minimal fee of around 30 million euros for his transfer. Kessie has expressed his desire to stay, but ultimately the player might change his own decision. Regardless, Kessie will serve as a valuable squad player or provide a profit if he decides to leave, making it a win-win situation for Barcelona.
The Golden Boy of Barcelona, Pedri’s tremendous growth in recent years has captured the attention of football fans worldwide. Loved by fans of all teams, Pedri’s influence on the pitch is undeniable. With a release clause of 1 billion euros, he is destined to become a club legend and play a vital role in Barcelona’s resurgence in the future. The young magician’s unwavering dedication to Barcelona will propel the club to new heights.
Another Golden Boy of F.C. Barcelona, Gavi, currently one of the top midfielders, has become the most important player for the club at just 18 years of age. He has even secured a starting position in Spain’s national team. Despite challenges regarding his registration, Gavi has never shown a desire to leave the club, despite interest from numerous clubs. He is a present and future player for Barcelona.
One of Xavi’s favorite players in the current squad, Nico Gonzalez was encouraged to stay last season but he chose out of the club for game time. After a loan spell at Valencia, where he made a significant impact despite injuries, the young prospect has returned to Barcelona. The club is keen on incorporating him into the team for the upcoming season. Deco and Alemany see him as a potential replacement for Busquets, but Xavi envisions a box-to-box midfielder role for him. Regardless, there are more positives to him staying than going out on loan again.
Pablo Torre, once hailed as the next Pedri had an underwhelming season due to limited playing time. The 20-year-old midfielder showcased glimpses of his talent whenever he took the field, including scoring a goal. However, the lack of opportunities may result in the club loaning him out for a year to gain experience. It is to be noted that Pablo Torre is currently the best set-piece specialist in the Barca training sessions.
The consensual signing of Ilkay Gundogan, who arrived on a free transfer after winning a treble as a captain, has been an astounding addition to Barcelona. His versatility and experience will have a significant impact on a squad filled with youngsters. While not wearing the armband, Gundogan will serve as a captain on the field. As an early-thirties player, he would be a starter for any club in the world, including Barcelona.
The 19-year-old defensive midfielder, who made his first-team debut last season, gives hope to Barcelona members as a potential replacement for Busquets. Replacing Busquets is a difficult task, but La Masia talents like Marc Casado have the ability to fill the void. He has impressed in the Barca B team, proving why he is considered the chosen one. However, gaining Xavi’s trust will require more than just performances for the B team, which is why he will be part of Barcelona’s preseason tour.
The 34-year-old Polish striker won the Pichichi Trophy in his debut season at Barcelona. Lewandowski played a crucial role in helping the team reclaim the La Liga title after three years. Although he experienced a dip in form following the World Cup, he regained his shape towards the end of the season. A top-form Lewandowski will provide a significant boost for Barcelona in European competitions. In his second season, he gained the confidence of the board and the manager to be considered for the captain’s armband.
Since joining Barcelona in 2017, the 26-year-old right winger has started to show more hunger and improved performance under Xavi’s guidance. Dembele attributes his revitalization to Xavi, who has reignited his belief in the game and helped him develop. As the third-most senior member in the club, Dembele has a chance of wearing the captain’s armband next season. Despite his injury-prone reputation, culers expect a different season from him and have faith in his abilities.
The Brazilian winger made a significant impact in his first season at Barcelona, delivering clutch performances and contributing to nine points in the league. While there have been rumors linking him to various clubs, Raphinha has expressed his desire to stay at Barcelona and reach his full potential. Although his form wasn’t consistent last season, he is expected to be a key player and lead the club to important stages in multiple competitions.
Barcelona’s youngest-ever goal scorer, Ansu Fati, experienced a goal drought last season, scoring only seven goals in 36 games. He struggled with form mid-season but showed promises of his pre-injury form. Barcelona, facing financial challenges, is looking to sell him for profit and FFP compliance, but Fati remains committed to the club and does not want to leave. His preseason performance will be crucial in convincing Xavi to make him the main left-winger next season. Xavi publicly stated that Fati will be given the chance to prove himself, and his success will be a massive boost for the club. However, failure to meet Xavi’s expectations could result in his departure before the transfer window closes.
One of Xavi’s early signings, the 23-year-old Ferran Torres was expected to shine in Barcelona colors but struggled to find his place in the team last season. He experienced the worst run of bad form in his career, scoring only four goals in 33 appearances. Torres, managed by renowned coaches like Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique, is currently fighting for his spot at Barcelona, and the club is seeking a transfer fee for him. Despite this, Torres has no desire to leave for another club. With his remarkable skills and abilities, he displayed moments of exceptional performance, such as his standout game against Cadiz but yet again showed inconsistent form after. However, consistent preseason performances may sway Xavi’s stance.
The 21-year-old Moroccan winger has returned to Barcelona after a successful loan spell at Osasuna. During his time at Osasuna, Ezzalzouli showcased exceptional skills, demonstrating his pace and goal-scoring abilities, which helped the team secure crucial points. The club is eager to see him perform well during the preseason and is considering giving him opportunities with the first team next season. However, following his impressive loan spell, Ezzalzouli has garnered interest from various clubs, making his future uncertain. Barcelona does not discount the possibility of him leaving if a substantial offer is presented. While Ezzalzouli desires success at Barcelona, he may consider a move for the advancement of his career.