After a disappointing Champions League, Barcelona looks like it needs some crucial re-thinking in all its departments. Barcelona president, Bartomeu, has confirmed that Ernesto Valverde will remain at the club next season and mentioned that the planning for the next season is already underway. Although Bartomeu claimed that Valverde has the support of the board and of the president himself, not everyone seems to be on the same page.
Valverde has overseen two spectacular collapses from Barca in the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League in as many seasons. Last year, the Catalans giants lost 3-0 to Roma in the semi-final, although previously winning the first leg.
This year, once again, Barcelona was defeated 4-0 to Liverpool at Anfield in the second leg of the semi-final. Again, they won the first leg and beat Liverpool 3-0.
ESPN’s David Cartlidge was among those who called for Valverde to be relieved of his duties as a result of the capitulation. He claimed: “Once, you can forgive Valverde. A second time is too much. He’s learned nothing from the experience last season and has shown an inability to be flexible in his approach. His mentality, unfortunately, is well below that of what Barça aspire to be”.
Although Barcelona may have failed to meet expectations in the European stage, they have still dominated domestically. The team lost just once in La Liga last season as they won the title by 14 points, and they also won the Copa del Rey for the fourth year running. They’ve also already wrapped up the title again this season and will face Valencia in the Copa final.
Now that Valverde is definitely staying, it’s time to divert our attention to the players staying and leaving Barcelona this summer.
It has been confirmed that Lionel Messi will be staying with the Catalan Giants. He has landed back in Barcelona and will begin training for the next season on Wednesday. After playing at Copa America with Argentina, who lost to hosts Brazil in the final, Messi will be back in training until July 31.
In other news, he has also been reportedly fined a certain amount and banned from Argentina’s first qualifying match in the 2022 World Cup, after he accused the tournament referees of corruption and of being biased in favour of Brazil.
Luis Suarez has also returned early from his summer break and has begun training.
Barcelona has also put three players forward for signings to help fund the Neymar deal. He cost Paris Saint-Germain £200m when he headed to France in 2017 and it would cost more for him to return. And now Malcom, Rafinha Alcantara and Philippe Coutinho are all available to be bought this summer.
This comes to a most interesting question. Will Philippe Coutino be staying with Barcelona or will he be making a move back to the Reds? Coutinho reportedly left Liverpool in January 2018 and joined the Catalan Giants, desiring to win the Champions League with them. However, fate would have it that his former club ended up to be the champions.
However, there doesn’t seem to be any bad blood between the teams and Jurgen Klopp has revealed he hopes Philippe Coutinho is happy at Barcelona – dampening speculation he could re-sign for Liverpool.
“As I said, having him would make each team better – us included – but I really hope that he finds his luck at Barcelona,” Klopp said. “Or maybe he found it there…I would say he’s completely happy at Barcelona and wants to sign a new six-year contract or whatever.”
An exclusive interview with Darren Anderton suggests otherwise: “If there is a chance for Liverpool to resign him (Coutinho), then they may well consider putting the past behind them and taking him back. He’s obviously not had a great time at Barcelona but he was the main man at Liverpool and he made them tick.”
Barcelona are willing to sell Coutinho for a whopping €120 million for the Brazilian. Other than Liverpool, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are a few of the clubs that can afford him. Only time will tell which path Coutinho takes and which team he ends up playing with.
Valverde has also revealed his desire to sign a left-back this summer and claims that it is possible they bring someone on. He accepts the fact that there have been some ordeals in that department last season and he is looking to fix it. Junior Firpo is the name that is being circulated as the potential left-back as Jordi Alba isn’t getting any younger and definitely requires some assistance.