April 12, 2024

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After season to forget, Barcelona faces difficult rebuild | Taiwan News

4 min read
After season to forget, Barcelona faces difficult rebuild | Taiwan News

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — It is really been a extensive, very long time for Barcelona.

Lionel Messi left in tears right before it begun. Ronald Koeman was quickly fired. The staff dropped out of the Champions League and into the Europa League, and then could not even arrive near to successful it.

The return of former good Xavi Hernández as mentor and some savvy signings in January ultimately led to some convincing wins, but the staff that after dominated Spanish soccer unsuccessful to generate a title for the second time in a few several years.

Barcelona continue to has two league games remaining, but making certain a next-place finish is genuinely the only matter to play for. The club’s concentration is now to make sure that upcoming period is an improvement.

That, nevertheless, could prove difficult.

Barcelona is still going through huge economic problems that have previously performed a portion, according to Xavi, in quashing any hopes it had of luring Erling Haaland, a single of the biggest names on the current market, to Spain.

“We just couldn’t contend on an economic level. I would like him the greatest of luck,” Xavi reported about Haaland soon after Manchester City announced the signing of the younger Norway striker on Tuesday.

Xavi and club formal Jordi Cruyff reportedly satisfied with Haaland in early March to try to convince him to occur to the Camp Nou.

Barcelona’s finances have been ruined by the effects of the pandemic and the unsustainable shelling out of former club president Josep Bartomeu. Its debt ballooned to 1.3 billion euros ($1.36 billion), top the Spanish league to slash its salary cap this period to 97 million euros ($110 million) — additional than 7 times smaller sized than rival True Madrid.

The club now run by Joan Laporta did exceptionally nicely in introducing gamers to its squad midseason. Technical director Mateu Alemany secured the transfer of Ferran Torres from Metropolis, the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as a totally free agent, and a personal loan deal to bring back again Adama Traoré.

Aubameyang and Torres instantly clicked and solved Barcelona’s scoring woes. Its stunning 4- victory at Madrid in March finished up currently being the sole spotlight of a inadequate period. In any other case, there was the ignominy of shedding in the group stage of the Champions League for the initially time in practically two many years. The staff then was overwhelmed by Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarterfinals. It in no way competed with Madrid in the league title race, and was ousted from the Copa del Rey in the spherical of 16 by Athletic Bilbao.

To enhance on these final results, Alemany, Cruyff and Laporta have some big conclusions to make within a quite restricted funds.

“This year was not constructive for the reason that we did not struggle for titles and anyone who can appear will be welcome,” Xavi claimed. “The financial predicament is what it is and players will have to leave for many others to arrive. The scenario is sophisticated, it is extremely tough, but we have to get reinforcements to be competitive. That is a actuality.”

Barcelona is reportedly probing its possibilities of signing Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, who is stuck in deal negotiations with the Bundesliga champions.

But it also must resolve many questions relating to players at present in the squad.

1 of Barcelona’s priorities is observing if it can indication Ousmane Dembélé to a new, less expensive offer. Dembélé, whose agreement is up at the finish of the year, turned down offers from other golf equipment in January. Because then, he has turn into a important piece of Xavi’s attack. The Frenchman, whose contract is reportedly the highest on Barcelona’s payroll immediately after the exits of Messi and Philippe Coutinho, is set to end the season as the Spanish league’s major help-maker.

The club succeeded in acquiring veterans Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti to all decreased their salaries. The 24-12 months-previous Dembélé may well be a much more challenging prospect presented his age and his rough-to-swap talents.

Barcelona also has to decide if it will pay back Wolverhampton to make Traoré’s shift permanent. The winger did not engage in as substantially as expected so if the club can resign Dembélé, then it is significantly less probably to continue to keep Traoré.

Spanish athletics media speculates that midfielder Frenkie de Jong and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen could be up for sale, if the price tag is right. The German keeper has underperformed for the previous two seasons, while Barcelona has other selections in midfield.

Amid so considerably uncertainty, the club has succeeded in giving Xavi with some steadiness by locking down two of its more youthful gamers that it hopes can be pillars for the upcoming. The two Spain midfielder Pedri González, 19, and Uruguay defender Ronald Araújo, 23, signed new promotions this year to tie them up until eventually 2026.

The club is negotiating a new offer with Gavi Páez, who, together with fellow midfielder Nico González, supplied some of the handful of brilliant places for Barcelona this season. Nico was getting a breakout year early on beneath Koeman, but the moment Xavi took about in November his minutes dried up. Now his future at Barcelona could hinge on the departure of De Jong.

Barcelona’s way forward will also count on the well being of Ansu Fati, who at 19 has long gone from teen superstar to getting half neglected mainly because of his undesirable luck with injuries. He just lately returned to the industry and, if he can continue to be healthier, would seem to be a perfect leader for Xavi’s rebuild.


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