Following their 8-2 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich on Friday night, Barcelona are reportedly set for a summer of massive change, with a number of stars set to leave the club. We take a look at the likely candidates and discuss potential fees and suitors.
The unthinkable looks entirely plausible this summer, with Messi reportedly informing the Barca hierarchy of his desire to leave immediately following the Bayern Munich hammering. Messi is arguably the greatest player in Barcelona’s history, with 634 goals in 731 appearances for the La Liga side. He’s won 10 league crowns, six Spanish Cups, four Champions Leagues and a raft of personal awards since making his debut in 2005.
His contract reportedly contains a clause which allows him to leave for free any summer he chooses, though any suitors will be expected to pay a hefty signing-on fee as well as picking up his astronomical wages. A reunion with former coach Pep Guardiola at Manchester City looks the likeliest option should he be serious about a move.
Price: Free (with a signing-on fee in the tens of millions)
Suitors: Manchester City
The French World Cup winner was only signed last summer for a whopping €130m fee - reportedly on Messi’s recommendation - but hasn’t lived up to his price tag, with 15 goals in 48 appearances proof of his stuttering form. In hindsight, Griezmann’s signing seems like poor planning, with the 30-year-old's best position, that of a deep-lying striker, not really existing in Barca’s 4-3-3 formation. He was left on the bench for the start of Barcelona’s biggest game this season, against Bayern, and did little after coming on.
It is believed Griezmann is up for sale already this summer, with Barca keen to recoup as much of the huge transfer fee as possible. It’s unlikely Atletico will want to re-sign him, which leaves PSG, Premier League clubs or a lucrative move to China or the US.
Another player signed for an eye-watering sum who subsequently failed to live up to his billing. Dembele looked like a world beater in his final season in Borussia Dortmund, but has struggled with injuries and a lack of confidence since arriving in Catalonia for €138m in 2018. Again, it’s a move which never really made sense to begin with, given Dembele’s best position is on the right-wing, where Messi plays.
Dembele has been touted as a possible cut-price target for Manchester United in the event they don’t land Jadon Sancho this summer. It represents a huge fall from grace for the French forward.
Suitors: Manchester United
Barcelona paid a record €145m for the man who scored twice against them on Friday evening; possibly the most damning evidence of their dreadful transfer business over the past three summers. As harsh as it sounds, Coutinho is the poster boy for this dark period at the club and will be moved on this summer for certain.
The former Liverpool playmaker needs to regain his confidence and a return to England seems the likeliest move right now. That is, unless Bayern have a change of heart and decide to bring him to the Allianz Arena on a permanent basis.
Frenkie De Jong
De Jong has also struggled since signing for Barcelona last summer due to having his best position already occupied by an existing player. De Jong’s career best form came in his final year at Ajax, where he operated as the deep-lying playmaker in a fluid midfield. Or, to put it bluntly, in Sergio Busquets’ position.
It’s likely Barcelona will want to hold on to a 23-year-old who many consider the standout midfielder of his generation, but De Jong has been vocal about his frustrations during his first year at the Catalan club. Were he to leave, there would be no shortage of suitors.
Suitors: PSG, Juventus, Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal
The combative Chilean has just one year left on his deal at the Camp Nou and, with Barca keen on rebuilding their squad from top to bottom, there is likely to be little room for a 33-year-old on high wages.
Vidal has been frequently linked with a move to the Premier League in the past, but at his age a move to Italian football, where he previously excelled for Juventus, or even to the MLS, seems more likely. It is thought Barcelona may try and use him as a makeweight in a deal to sign Lautaro Martinez from Inter.
Suitors: Inter Milan, MLS
The Frenchman is constantly linked with a move to the Premier League, with Barcelona bosses unconvinced with his ability to compete with the very best strikers in Europe. The 26-year-old is reportedly a target for Chelsea this summer, with Frank Lampard desperate to shore up his defence and keen to sign a left-footed centre-back this window.
Suitors: Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City
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