There are very few clubs in world football as majestic and grand as Barcelona. The Catalan outfit has been one of the most dominant forces in the last half century and more. From winning trophies to acquiring the biggest football talent, Barcelona have done it all.
But power and dominance in football is a dynamic thing and as new powers rise, old ones fall. It may not be all doom and gloom for Barcelona but it could certainly be said that the once mighty club are undergoing one of the most testing periods in their history.
Barcelona has been unable to manage their transition and finances
Transition periods challenge any club in the world and it has been no different for Barcelona. The club were having a dominant spell just five years ago when they won the pentuple with one of the best attacking trios in world football. However, this was broken by Paris Saint-Germain's (PSG) purchase of Neymar.
It opened up a dark period for the club, where fortunes have been spent on unworthy replacements. All it has led to is an already bloated expenditure bill becoming unmanageable. Barcelona had to lose their greatest ever player Lionel Messi as a result of this and are a shambles on and off the field.
What has been worse is the underperformance of several senior players. Having begun a new spell under club legend Xavi, the following names will want to improve their performances in 2022.
#5 Memphis Depay
Memphis Depay has not been entirely bad and he has shown his potential despite a poor season by his standards.
It is no hidden secret hidden that Depay has moved to Barcelona due to the relationship he shares with former manager Ronald Koeman. But despite managerial changes, Depay has been a regular.
Sergio Aguero's sudden retirement has also meant the Dutch forward has had to shoulder the main burden of bringing goals.
In the 21 appearances that Depay has made so far, he has had 10 goal involvements, including eight goals and two assists. It needs no saying that Depay has the potential to perform way better and Barcelona urgently need him to get his goals and assists tally to go up.
#4 Sergino Dest
Plenty was expected from Sergino Dest when the American wonderkid made the switch from Ajax to Barcelona. His exploits in the Eredivisie had gained him a lot of traction.
The Blaugrana fans were excited as it seemed like the club's longstanding issues in the right-back position had been sorted. Dest has the ability and age on his side and many believed the transfer amount paid for him was a bargain when he endured a bright start.
However, the main issue with Dest has been his inconsistency. On occasion, he has looked like the player everyone hopes of him to be, but at other times, his performances really fall below the expected standards.
The current campaign has been no different and to make matters worse, Dest now faces time on the sidelines with an injury. He has managed three assists and a fair number of minutes under him this season. Post his injury, both Dest and Barcelona will hope the right-back improves his gameplay.
#3 Eric Garcia
Barcelona centre-back Eric Garcia has had some big admirers, none bigger than Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola. According to Guardiola, Garcia is one of the best defensive talents in the world. Quite naturally, Barcelona fans had considered the transfer of Garcia a coup.
Getting such a talented defender who is just entering his peak as a free agent is surely amazing for any club. However, the move to Barcelona hasn't unraveled in the way Garcia would have hoped to.
The Spaniard has had no shortage of opportunities, as he has already made 19 appearances in the current campaign across all competitions. However, Garcia's performances have disappointed many Barcelona fans. For a player of his potential, he has looked extremely shaky defensively, and his skills with the ball haven't been visible at all.
He will hope to improve soon, which will help his and Barcelona's cause as well.
#2 Frenkie de Jong
Frenkie de Jong was one of the star players of the Ajax side that surprised many by reaching the semis of the UEFA Champions League. De Jong's talent and age resulted in many suitors, and a big-money move to Barcelona ensued.
Like Depay, de Jong hasn't been a completely awful signing for the Blaugrana. However, a big price tag always exerts its pressure, which seems to have affected the Dutchman.
Although he is known for his exemplary passing ability and technical skills, de Jong's performances in the current campaign have been extremely indifferent. Interestingly, the midfielder has scored one goal and assisted two in the 23 appearances he has made so far across all competitions.
But de Jong has put in several poor performances, which are quite unexpected from a man of his caliber. The Blaugrana faithful will be hopeful that the new year will change fortunes for their beloved Dutchman.
#1 Marc-Andre ter Stegen
In a troublesome season, Barcelona fans would have hoped for great performances from their goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. After all, the German shot-stopper has been a reliable player for the club over the last few years.
Such were his performances that many felt Germany should make him the starting keeper. With the 2022 FIFA World Cup coming up, ter Stegen would have wanted to make solid performances in the 2021-22 campaign. But it has been a campaign to forget for both him and Barcelona.
The defense has been extremely leaky, and ter Stegen has been at fault on multiple occasions. He has conceded 28 goals from 23 appearances and managed only seven clean sheets. Unless ter Stegen improves his performances, Barcelona will keep conceding easy goals, only aggravating their situation.