Barça back to work for the 2011/2012 season

The holidays are over for the majority of players as Barça’s 2011/2012 season begins today. Messi, Mascherano, Milito, Alves and Adriano should all arrive around August 3 after Argentina and Brazil were both eliminated in the Copa America quarter-finals on penalties, but the rest of the players reported for physical tests, except for Carles Puyol who is undergoing physiotherapy after his knee operation at the beginning of June and Bojan Krkic who was given permission to continue negotiating his transfer to Roma. Andreu Fontas and Thiago Alcantara are now of course officially first team players while Jonathan dos Santos also joined the group though he still has a B-team contract.

As things stand players like Jeffren, Milito and Maxwell who were rumoured to be on the players-who-will-leave list are still with us though Jeffren continues to be linked with a move to Bolton though I’d say he was worth a little bit more than the €6 million that Bolton have reportedly offered. Milito has been linked with Lyon, Roma and Lazio and I think it would probably be best if he moved on. There are been reports of Joan Capdevila or Jordi Alba being bought to replace Maxwell, but if I don’t have any problem if he stays for another season as he’s always been pretty reliable when called on.

If for the sake of argument, we sell Milito, Bojan and Jeffren we would be left with a first team squad of just 19 players which at the moment would look like this:

GOALKEEPERS: Valdés, Pinto

DEFENDERS: Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Abidal, Adriano, Fontas, Maxwell.

MIDFIELDERS: Mascherano, Busquets, Xavi, Keita, Iniesta, Thiago

FORWARDS: Messi, Villa, Pedro, Afellay.

We are probably all being won over by Guardiola’s small-squad strategy given the success it has brought us in the last three seasons. It’s never really been a case that we might “run out” of players as we have so many talented youngsters who could be used in emergency, and I hope we see a bit more first team action this season for the likes of Sergi Roberto or Gerard Deulofeu. However, I am sure we are going to try and make at least one big signing this summer and the most likely at the moment seems to be Alexis Sanchez despite the clubs still not reaching an agreement on the conditions.

I don’t think we need to sign anybody in defence (unless Maxwell leaves) as we have so much versatility with Mascherano and Adriano offering excellent back-up for Alves, Piqué, Puyol and Abidal. We could have problems of course if Puyol and Abidal suffer setbacks but they are two very strong individuals who I’m confident will both play a lot of games this season. We also have plenty of young talent in Bartra, Montoya, Muniesa etc.

Mascherano is of course also a first class replacement in midfield, while Keita and Thiago offer aditional support to the first choice trio of Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta. Fabregas would improve the competition but if we are with limited funds then surely the priority should be an attacker. I’m not quite sure why we are no longer linked with Villarreal’s Guiseppe Rossi but I will have no complaints if we finally sign Alexis. With our first preseason friendly on Saturday against Hadjuk Split it would be good to get the transfer business out of the way quickly so that Guardiola can get everybody working together as soon as possible.

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This entry was posted in Andres Iniesta, Bojan, Cesc Fabregas, Gabi Milito and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Barça back to work for the 2011/2012 season

  1. layibiyi says:

    agree with all you said

  2. Lee says:

    Thanks for the excellent summary. Can’t wait, as Jose’s got no excuses this season (well . . . I’m sure he’ll invent thousands of them). And Real are loaded with talent, a truly frightening squad. (I hope they get Neymar as the more villains the better.) I’d be scared of Real if Barca weren’t extraterrestrials.

  3. Tacklr says:

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    The above is just a copy/paste from Arseblog

  4. barcacentralomer says:

    @Tacklr: Good one.

    @ Nic:
    The most important thing as Pep and most of us recognise is the lack of quality backup upfront. I can understand Bojan moving on but letting both Bojan and Jeffren go would leave us with just two back up forwards in Sanchez [who we still have to sign] and Afellay, and considering we always play with a 3 man forward line and the number of games we’ll be playing in 2011-12, I wonder if we’ll be putting too much workload on these guys.

    No issue with the best midfield in the world and looking forward to seeing more of Thiago , JDS and Sergi Roberto this season. Abidal and Masch have both proven me wrong a number of times in the prior season with their performances in the CB position and are more than capable of deputising for the dynamic duo of Pique and Puyol. I don’t see the point of retaining Milito though as he’s clearly not good enough any more to be at Barca. Abidal,Adriano, Dani Alves and perhaps Maxwell as well mean we have adequate cover in the full back category.

    While Valdes has been in super form and fitness in the recent past, Pinto isn’t going to get any younger so why not give Mino or Oier some playing time because we will need to find Valdes an understudy and/or deputy in a couple of years.

  5. blaugranaboy says:

    reckon its about time I make an appearance.

    first, thanks to nic for keeping this going a bit over the summer. i must confess i find the transfer season amazingly tiresome and thought about doing some pieces but couldnt find the conviction. i mean really, we have been signing sanchez and cesc for months now and neither is for sure.

    i think nic is spot on. ive my whole life believed in smaller squads and i still do. i believe we are going to get both cesc and sanchez and then we are totally set. i dont see any reason to worry about the forward line. villa is going to have a better year and well we have messi who has scored around 50 goals two years in a row. goals will not be a problem for us. i dont see why ppl want to get rid of maxwell either, makes no sense. he understand the system now, why sell him and bring in capdevila.

    im liking the squad for next year, its really very strong. if we have good luck again with injuries, sanchez may struggle to find a place.

    the start of the season is still too far away though! but at least we have some friendlies coming up soon. that will help somewhat

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