The season is finally over for FC Barcelona and it’s World Cup time as all eyes are shifting towards Russia. Barcelona this season secured a domestic double but again failed to go any further in Europe. Surely the Catalan giants will do a lot of homework in this summer before coming back for the hunt of major honlurs. If everything goes according to plan in this summer then they can find themselves in the top of Europe again. We will discuss how deadly their lineup can be in the next season along with their bench strength.
It looks like Ernesto Valverde will keep the same formation next season also. So this must be the ideal first XI for us.
But now comes the more important part, the prospect of the reserve bench and overall squad which determines the success of a team. For the last three seasons, Barça lacked in that area but with the recent significant signings things can change a little. So, let’s focus on the probable bench strength of the La Liga champions for the upcoming season player wise.
1. Denis Suarez:
No need to explain the potential of this lad. Gives creativity, can score goals and he is seemingly a unpolished package.
○ Replaceable players: Coutinho, Rakitic
Well many Barcelona fans were and still are not much happy about this acquisition but it’s an undeniable fact that he increases the squad strength. He will be good as a back-up player next season. If the team is 1-0 up and the clock says it’s 77 mins and the situation is tight, bring this guy in the midfield and he will provide the stability.
○ Replaceable players: Busquets, Rakitic
He will probably be not a regular this season as well which is detrimental for his growth as an jndividual player. It’s not the same Dembele that the Barça board brought in from Dortmund especially after the injury. But with a proper pre-season and if he remains fit, he can do a World of good to Valverde’s bench and may also prove to be the deciding factor in many games if played for full ninety minutes. The eyes of the football world will be on this player next season.
○ Replaceable players:
Messi, Griezmann (if he finally cones), Coutinho. (Well you may argue that Messi is irreplaceable)
4. Thomas Vermaelen:
Don’t know if he will stay or leave but most of the people can agree that a fit Vermaelen is one of toughest defenders to crack. Just ask Ronaldo, he knew it!
Replaceable players: Pique, Umtiti
5. Nélson Semedo:
The Portuguese youngster is the only natural right-back Barcelona has. He is improving gradually and is expected to be more matured next season. It’s never easy filling the shoes of someone like Dani Alves, but if he can justify his talent then Semedo in near future will create an identity of his own. He is one of the young players the Barça board and the fans will keep a keen watch upon.
○ Replaceable players: Sergio Roberto
6. Lucas Digne:
Well he haz not got half of the ability of Alba but still Barcelona will need a backup right? Keep the former PSG left-back for next season will be a wise decision as he can be deployed against lesser opponents providing rest for Alba.
○ Replaceable players: Jordi Alba
The new boy will join in January. He might become the guy the Catalans missed in these recent years, the real midfield engine. But he is young and gonna take some time but this player will make the squad stronger for sure.
○ Replaceable players: Busquets, Rakitić
8. Clément Lenglet:
Still not confirmed if he will join the club but he has got some serious potential and in time it will grow for sure. In addition he got La liga experience which will be a big boost for them in the central defence.
○ Replaceable players: Pique, Umtiti
The La Masia boy. No more discussion needed on him.
○ Replaceable players: Busquets, Rakitic
There maybe more players who will join the squad but in my opininon if the club can make the right choices and if Valverde makes the rotation properly, this bench strength of FC Barcelona may prove to be the ‘X-Factor’ for them next season, something which they lacked in past couple of seasons.