By 90Min
July 01, 2019

Barcelona appeared to be going strong last season after completing mega-money deals for Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembélé. However, neither player has performed consistently, resulting in doubts over their respective futures at the club.

The Spanish giants ran away with the La Liga title before faltering in the final of the Copa del Rey, losing 2-1 to Valencia. 

Then, there was the Champions League. Barcelona appeared on course to reach the final after cruising to a 3-0 first-leg victory in the semi-final against Liverpool. But, THAT night at Anfield happened, forcing La Blaugrana to head back to the drawing board. 

With the club already completing deals for Frenkie de Jong and Neto, we take a look at the key positions that Valverde will need to strengthen if his side is to be victorious on all fronts next season.


Competition for Jordi Alba

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Barca need to bring in someone to provide competition Jordi Alba at left-back. The Spaniard has been a wonderful servant to the club but, seeing as he is entering his 30's, it would be the ideal time to bring in someone who can compete with him and perhaps also learn from the full-back.

Junior Firpo is a talented, versatile 22-year-old who can play in the left-back position, further up the pitch as well as in the middle of defence. The Real Betis man has been linked with a whole host of top clubs in Europe and it is no wonder why.

The player has played down any speculation surrounding his future but his fine performances at the European Under-21 Championship will surely only raise greater interest in the player. He is very technically astute on the ball and can maraud forward, in a similar fashion to Alba. Barcelona must consider the talented youngster if they are to be competitive in every competition next season.


Potential Replacement for Luis Suarez

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Luis Suarez netted 21 goals last season in La Liga but scored only once in the Champions League. Aged 32, the Uruguayan is in the latter stages of a stellar career. 

Antoine Griezmann has reportedly agreed personal terms with Barcelona and will sign once his release clause drops to around £107m on July 1st. The Frenchman will be invaluable as he will bring creativity and composure to the team as they go in search of re-writing the calamitous events that unfolded for them in the Champions League. 

The World Cup winner scored 15 goals last season in La Liga as he helped drive his team to a second-place finish, whereas Barca have lacked goals from the likes of Coutinho, Dembélé, and Malcom. The 28-year-old has proven for club and country that he has the ability to change a game in a heartbeat, and Barcelona need that from more of their players. 


An Understudy for Gerard Pique

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No, it's not Matthijs de Ligt, who is widely believed to be on his way to Juventus. Barca need a new world-class centre-back and they should have fought harder to land the Dutch sensation. 


The club does have Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet but it became abundantly clear that the Spanish side needed reinforcements after their shocking defensive display away to Liverpool last season.

Instead, Valverde ought to look towards Jonathan Tah as a future long-term replacement for Gerard Piqué. The 23-year-old has a commanding presence and would bring similar leadership qualities into the heart of the defence. The Bayer Leverkusen man has been a fixture in the side, playing in 33 Bundesliga games and scoring three goals last season. 

While it is unclear how much it would take to pry the German away, Barcelona must consider this signing if they wish to stake a claim as the best team in Europe.


Someone Better Than Coutinho

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Right, let's not get ahead of ourselves here, but the possibility of Neymar returning to Barcelona appears to be more than just a fantasy (but only marginally).

The Brazilian superstar is said to be unhappy with life at Paris Saint-Germain and wants to return to the La Liga giants. The speculation becomes all the more interesting with reports claiming that PSG are willing to accept a deal worth the €222m they paid for him.


PSG appear keen to offload their star man and are also interested in bringing Coutinho to the French capital, after the former Liverpool man endured a miserable time at Barcelona and may seek other options.


Barcelona may also look to pay for Griezmann in instalments in order to fund the move for Neymar. If Coutinho is included in the deal for Neymar, it makes this whole bizarre merry-go-round all the more realistic as well. Barca have shown that they have the financial power to make big signings and if they complete these deals, they will be an irresistible force. 

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