FC Barcelona have had a stunning La Liga season this year. They finished as champions, ensuring the titles week before the end of the competition. Barca lost only one game throughout the title campaign, that too in the 37th match of the season.
However, their struggles in Europe’s premier continental tournament, the Champions League, were evident this season. The Catalan club lost to Italian side AS Roma in the quarterfinals. This was the third consecutive loss for FC Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinals. The situation was made worse when their rivals, Real Madrid reached another Champions League final.
Barcelona have seemingly started to strengthen their squad with their relentless chase for Antoine Griezmann. But is the signing of the Frenchman enough to guide Barcelona through to European glory?
With the retirement of Andres Iniesta and a seeming lack of depth in the defence, there are areas where Barcelona can certainly improve this season.
theSportsRush looks at 4 players which Barcelona can look to, to strengthen their squad for the upcoming season.
The Barca-bred midfielder left the Catalan club in 2013 for Bayern Munich, but reports suggest that Barcelona are trying their best to get him back. And we see no reason why they shouldn’t.
Barcelona will be without their midfield maestro Andres Iniesta from next season, and Thiago would bring a certain calmness to the centre. Thiago took over the midfield-mantle at Bayern Munich and filled the void left by Bastian Schweinsteiger quite effectively.
He’s a gifted midfielder, agile and quick. Thiago’s gameplay comes straight out of La Masia, and he can skip past the defender with ease.
Nobody can replace Andres Iniesta. But Thiago can perhaps effectively fill some gap.
A lot has been said about Marco Verratti in the past. The midfielder has been linked with clubs across Europe, including FC Barcelona.
The PSG midfielder is deemed as one of the best midfielders in football at the moment. He’s an able passer of the ball who doesn’t shy away from doing the dirty work. Verratti is an excellent dribbler, a quality which was perhaps popularised in a midfielder’s game by Andres Iniesta himself.
However, the French club are already on the verge of losing their star player Neymar, and Barcelona may have to break the bank to bring Verratti.
The need for new defenders is paramount for Barcelona next season. Javier Mascherano has left the club and Samuel Umtiti’s future is still uncertain. Gerard Pique is 31 and Vermaelen and Yerry Mina don’t inspire confidence in the middle.
Clement Lenglet delivered some strong performances for Sevilla this season, which saw the club reaching its first ever Champions League quarterfinal.
The 22-year old defender joined Sevilla only last year and has appeared on 47 occasions for Sevilla. ESPN FC put him in the Champions League Best XI of the season for his strong defensive performances this year.
Matthijs de Ligt
The defender is a young and technical astute player, who can improve Barcelona’s defensive woes. de Ligt, 18, has already made a mark in the Ajax squad in his short career.
The defender started in the Europa League final last season, and has already earned international cap with Netherlands. He received his international debut in his very first league campaign of the career.