Barcelona endured a rare season without La Liga success last term after Real Madrid managed to hold onto their three-point advantage. The Camp Nou outfit were found wanting against the mid-table teams last term with the defeat to newly-promoted Alaves likely to hurt the most. The Catalan giants were also convincingly beaten on two occasions in the Champions League, although they came back from a 4-0 deficit against Paris Saint-Germain to create history with a 6-3 aggregate win in the knockout stage.
The Spanish giants ended their season with a Copa del Rey success, but the campaign as a whole could be deemed as a setback after the new signings, Andre Gomes, in particular, struggled to find his feet at the heart of the midfield. Calcio Insider looks into two critical positions Barcelona ought to strengthen if they are to keep tabs with Real Madrid, who have ruled over Europe in recent seasons.
Right-back: A right-sided defender is likely to be Barcelona’s main priority during this summer’s transfer window. Dani Alves had openly suggested that Barca would miss him on his departure, and he was right to say so as they failed to find a suitable replacement. Aleix Vidal, Rafinha and Sergi Roberto shared the duties on the right side of the backline, but none of them presented their confidence with their all-round play. Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin has been heavily credited with a move to Camp Nou but Chelsea ace Cesar Azpilicueta remains the top target to bolster the position.
Central Midfield: Andres Iniesta has been the main architect towards Barcelona’s success in recent seasons, but his skills appear to have waned over the past year. The World Cup winner has just a year left on his existing deal, and Barcelona are likely to plan for the future with a new recruit. Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti has been often associated with a move to Camp Nou, but a deal still looks far off with the French giants reluctant to place a price tag on the Italian. Gomes was identified as a potential replacement for Iniesta in the ranks, but he has struggled to win over the club’s faithful.
Image – Getty