Poor old Barcelona, eh?
Following almost 15 years of supremacy, which saw them spearhead a footballing revolution and form some of the game’s greatest ever sides (led by academy products), things are starting to unravel bit by bit in Catalonia.
From woeful – and I mean woeful – recruitment to persistent European collapses, La Blaugrana, quite frankly, have turned into a bit of a weird club.
Barcelona’s dealing of mightily gifted defender Jean-Clair Todibo was just one example of horrendous long-term planning. Nevertheless, with the Catalans desperate to earn €70m in player sales before the end of June to balance the club’s accounts (and prepare for the arrival of Lautaro Martinez), expect a fair few higher-valued stars to depart Catalonia imminently.
And if Miralem Pjanic for Arthur Melo are the sort of deals the Catalans are prepared to entertain, expect things to get even weirder at the Camp Nou.
So, here’s a list of players who could be departing Barcelona at the end of the season, accompanied with potential fees and suitors…
When the Brazilian rose to prominence following a masterclass in efficient midfield play against Tottenham at Wembley in October 2018, Arthur Melo looked set to be a fixture in the Barcelona midfield for the next decade.
For some reason, however, the club are seemingly keen to see him exit the Camp Nou in favour of Juventus’ Pjanic, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Sure, he might’ve struggled with ‘injury’ this term, but the 23-year-old has enjoyed a fairly productive campaign in the final third and is one of the finest in Europe in the first and second phases as a result of his supreme press-resistance, locomotion and capacity to combine off one and two touches with ease.
Estimated Price: £45m
Arguably the finest to strut their stuff down the Camp Nou right flank in a post-Dani Alves world, 26-year-old Nelson Semedo is a player who could bring back a healthy economic return.
While not a prolific performer in the final third, Semedo’s athleticism, technique and astuteness in one-on-one situations makes him a valuable asset, and someone who would excel at several of Europe’s elite.
Estimated Price: £50m
Suitors: Juventus, Manchester City, Inter
Jordi Alba’s hamstrings have granted Junior Firpo ample opportunity to impress at left-back in his debut campaign, which he…has not.
While his skill set fits the ‘Barça way’ like a glove, Firpo, for all his impressive defensive work, has been frustrating to watch for much of the season due to his attacking incompetence.
Although, it would’ve been interesting to see how he fared under former Betis boss Quique Setien in Catalonia, La Blaugrana are set to cut their losses after just one season.
Estimated Price: £15m
Suitors: Napoli, Roma, Betis
Flying-high from a superb individual campaign amid France’s World Cup victory in 2018, persistent injury woes have prevented Samuel Umtiti from cementing himself as one of Europe’s most dominant defenders.
A majestic 2017/18 campaign saw him revolutionise the Barça backline alongside Gerard Pique, but he’s merely been a shadow of his former self in recent times.
And with Clement Lenglet ably stepping up to fill the void, La Blaugrana would be wise to move on from the perma-crocked Frenchman.
Estimated Price: £27m
Suitors: Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal
A mightily successful and underrated six-year spell at Barcelona looks to be coming to an end for Ivan Rakitic, who has often filled in as public scapegoat number one for some of the club’s less tolerant fans.
Despite the Croat himself admitting he’d be ‘happy’ to stay in Catalonia, it appears he’ll be one of the first on the chopping block in the Blaugrana purge.
The 32-year-old would provide invaluable functionality, versatitlity and experience for his next club.
Estimated Price: £13m
Suitors: Tottenham, Atletico
Inter appear to have a weird fetish for Arturo Vidal, one only enhanced by the arrival of Antonio Conte last summer.
While the 33-year-old Chilean is certainly past his best, there’s little doubting he has the capacity to compete at the highest level for at least another campaign.
His work out of possession is vastly under-appreciated, while his versatility has often seen him shifted out to right in order to fulfil Setien’s tactical desires.
The addition of Vidal for a slashed fee would represent an astute bit of work on behalf of the Nerazzurri.
Estimated Price: £12m
Following a frustrating campaign in Bavaria, Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently announced the club won’t be activating the option to buy in Coutinho’s loan contract.
The 27-year-old, therefore, will return to Catalonia at the end of the season, where he’ll likely be offloaded once more. While the Brazilian still holds significant value, he’s also not the profile of player Barcelona need right now.
A return to the Premier League looks probable, as Barcelona set themselves for a drastic loss on a player they once splurged £145m on in 2017.
Estimated Price: £45m
Suitors: Chelsea, Leicester, Newcastle, Arsenal
Setien’s admiration of Dembele makes the Frenchman’s departure unlikely, but if all else fails, the former Betis boss may have to wave goodbye to the supremely gifted winger.
The 23-year-old’s ambidexterity is unique, while his creativity and innovation in possession can be spellbinding when in full cry.
If only he didn’t have paper hamstrings, eh?
Estimated Price: £60m
Suitors: Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, Liverpool