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Why Barcelona needs a complete rebuild from top to bottom

  • Why Barcelona need a total rebuild after a very poor season that has seen them lose style and menace
ANALYST
Feature
Modified 02 Mar 2020, 07:39 IST

Messi looks on frustrated by Barca
Messi looks on frustrated by Barca's performance

Barcelona's El Clásico loss, against arch-rivals Real Madrid on Sunday, knocked them off the top of the La Liga table. This comes after their 1-1 draw with Napoli leaving their Champions League fate also up in the air. Their season has been disappointing as a whole. An early Copa del Rey exit and heartbreaking late defeat in the Supercopa de Espana has only compounded Barça's miserable season. Having already changed managers this season, with Ernesto Valverde being replaced by Quique Setién, as well as huge financial investment over the last few years, clearly greater change is needed at the club.


Former Barca manager Ernesto Valverde
Former Barca manager Ernesto Valverde

Barcelona's current president, Josep Bartomeu was recently caught in a social media scandal, in which he was accused of hiring social media companies to damage the reputations of key players and potential rival presidency candidates. This comes as only the latest of many reasons which lead to Barcelona fans protesting the club's president before their match against Eibar on February 22.

The general running of the club, especially in regards to transfers, has been a source of great ire for the Blaugrana faithful. Supporters have seen their club largely waste huge sums on galactico style transfers even when they've made little tactical sense or haven't been what the current manager was looking for at the time. Examples include Phillipe Coutinho, who they couldn't even manage to sell and is currently on loan at Bayern Munich, Antoine Griezmann, who despite his astronomical fee, has struggled to settle in and has largely been wasted in a role that he isn't comfortable in, Osmane Dembele, who has largely been injured and finally Malcom, who was barely given a chance before being shipped out to Zenit.


Barcelona unveil Philippe Coutinho
Barcelona unveil Philippe Coutinho

The constant Neymar saga surrounding the club has also not helped Bartomeu's case, with fans initially angry at his sale and with the subsequent transfer saga this summer, in which Barça seemed to be indicating a deal was possible for his return. No deal materialised irking the fans who see Neymar as the club's best chance at bringing the Champions League back to the Camp Nou.

Many Barça fans are also, seemingly, annoyed at the clubs gradual move away from their iconic style and philosophy. Many fans had grown tired of Valverde's pragmatic style of play and Bartomeu took the brunt of this frustration due to his decision to stick with the Spaniard.


FC Barcelona unveil new coach Quique Setien
FC Barcelona unveil new coach Quique Setien

Bartomeu is not the only board memebr to face criticism; with current sporting director and former player, Eric Abidal publicly clashing with Messi. The Argentine taking issue with Abidal's criticism of the team.

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Barça's upcoming presidential elections have hindered and undermined the clubs ability to emplace long term plans. Xavi was reportedly the club's first choice to replace the outgoing Ernesto Valverde. Xavi declined though, reportedly believing now was not an ideal time due to the uncertainty surrounding the club. He is also reportedly waiting for the outcome of the next election as his friend, Victor Font is one of the leading candidates. This uncertainty caused by the upcoming elections as greatly reduced Barça's ability to plan strategically. Setien was brought in as a back-up choice as manager and brought in so late in the window that he has not had the time to make any moves in the transfer window.


Xavi has long been considered a future potential Barca manager.
Xavi has long been considered a future potential Barca manager.

To fix their current predicament the club need to implement think smarter. Once the elections are over, the winning presidential candidate needs to come up with a long term strategy. They then need to secure the services of a manager they have full faith in, they then must back him, making smart, strategic signings that benefit the manager's desired system, rather than just splurging on big names.

Then comes the even greater challenge the next president must face. Replacing and preparing for Lionel Messi's eventual exit. They have now long suffered on an over-dependence on Messi, but this is finally looking like the first season the Argentine will fail to almost single-handedly drag the club to the La Liga title. The club must now look for a way to maintain their success after the Messi era.


Also see | The slow descent of Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona


Published 02 Mar 2020, 07:39 IST
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