Why Barcelona are destined to fail this season
Barcelona need to correct some issues immediately or they could be in for a very long and unsuccessful season. A season that both the fans and Ernesto Valverde will certainly want to forget.
Barcelona clinched the Copa Del Rey at the end of last season to avoid their first trophyless season since 2008. However, the problems throughout the season were apparent and they don’t look like getting any better this season. They have already suffered a humiliating 5-1 aggregate defeat to Real Madrid in the Super Copa De Espana, and most importantly they have lost one of the best players in world football, Neymar Jr.
Potential signings of both Dembele and Coutinho
Barcelona are desperate to sign both Phillipe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele. But in this current market, they’re going to have to pay astronomical fees for both players. Additionally, with both players being under long contracts, neither Liverpool or Borussia Dortmund are in a position where they’re obliged to sell their player.
If they’re able to capture both players it would be a tremendous boost for Valverde early in his first season at the club, but a deal for either player does not look close at the moment.
Barca’s signings whilst under the management of Luis Enrique, the likes of Andre Gomes, Paco Alcacer, Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal, have all struggled since their arrivals. Despite them all being talented, they’ve proved they aren’t at the level necessary to play for Barcelona. And now, having lost Neymar, Valverde will be frantically trying to bring in some world class players to help improve their current lineup and fill the void left by the Brazilian.
Gerard Deulofeu, Nelson Semedo and Paulinho have all been purchased this summer but Semedo looks to be the only one who could improve their starting 11. Barcelona had failed to replace Dani Alves properly until the arrival of the Portuguese international this window, meaning he will play an important role this season.
Paulinho had a torrid time in the Premier League with Tottenham and has been plying his trade in the Chinese Super League, which is nowhere near as competitive as European football. This would suggest, on face value, that he is unlikely to be hugely successful at Barcelona. Deulofeu similarly had a poor time in the Premier League, scoring five goals in 51 league appearances for Everton, suggesting he will not have the capability to replace Neymar.
Barcelona’s world class players are beginning to age, with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique now being 30 and Iniesta having turned 33. Soon enough, like in some games last season, they will not be able to hide the fragility and lack of togetherness which is there in the current squad. They suffered defeats to relegation battling Deportivo, Alaves in their last campaign and looked a shadow of the treble winning side of 2015.
The current young talent at the club is nowhere near what is expected of the club. Sergi Roberto and Denis Suarez have shown glimpses of what is necessary to play at the top level but not many others have shown they can. The legacy built by the current ageing stars will soon need to be rebuilt from the foundation by the younger players, but it doesn’t look like they will have the ability to continue Barca’s dominance and success into the future.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid
It’s certainly questionable whether certain players are even good enough to be a part of Barca’s squad. If Gomes and Alcacer are to play a prominent role this season, the Barcelona faithful will be very displeased, like they were for a lot of last season. Would Alcacer or Gomes be anywhere near Real Madrid’s squad? No.
They are Barcelona’s squad players, whilst Madrid have Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez, Mateo Kovacic and sometimes Gareth Bale on their bench. This in itself represents the huge gulf in the class currently between the two sides.
This is in addition to the fact that Real Madrid have now won three Champions League trophies in the last four seasons. They are beginning to look scores ahead of a Barcelona side who were dominant just a couple of seasons ago.
Last season, Barcelona were humiliated in a 4-0 defeat to PSG, before suffering a 3-0 defeat to Juventus in the Champions League. This is unheard of from a Barcelona side, especially an Enrique side who had conceded just 21 league goals in his first season, and 29 in his second season. However, along with the humiliating defeats in the Champions League, they also conceded 37 goals last season, the highest amount they had conceded since 2013.
This would suggest that Valverde will encounter some defensive problems. Moreover, he is not helped by the fact that they only have three experienced centre-backs in Javier Mascherano, Samuel Umtiti and Pique. The only three who have lots of experience of playing the way Barcelona do.
They have Thomas Vermaelen and the inexperienced Marlon Santos, but they have made just 14 appearances combined. If there aren’t any additions at centre back and injury problems strike Barcelona early on, they could go on to concede even more goals this season.
Barcelona’s season will all be dependent on the potential arrivals before the end of the summer window. If they fail to bring in at least one world-class player, Barcelona are destined to have another unsuccessful season.