For so many at Barcelona, the 2019-20 season represented a step too far. In hindsight, changes should’ve certainly happened sooner, but you can’t begrudge footballers for desperately clinging to the Blaugrana shirt (and their lavish contracts), as your career is only on a downward trajectory after playing in front of 100,000 at the Camp Nou.
Barça president Josep Maria Bartomeu promised changes and new manager Ronald Koeman has acquiesced with Ivan Rakitić the first casualty of the purge. He’ll soon be followed by Luis Suárez (possibly Juventus), Arturo Vidal (maybe Inter) and Samuel Umtiti (Roma?). And then, of course, there’s Lionel Messi and the specter of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
But back at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, Koeman has begun his first training sessions with the squad at hand. The Dutch manager showed his ruthless streak when taking over the Netherlands following that squad’s abysmal attempt at qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, and it’s rumored that former regulars like Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto will all play smaller roles this season.
More players will certainly arrive with transfer deadline day now falling on Monday, Oct. 5. Koeman reportedly wants to go some way toward recreating Holland’s midfield by signing Georginio Wijnaldum from Liverpool, and Barça has also been linked with Sergiño Dest and Nicolás Tagliafico (Ajax), Eric García and Angeliño (Man City), José Luis Gayà (Valencia) and Lautaro Martínez (Inter).
One of the most dependable and longest-running transfer sagas of them all — Neymar returning — will not play out this month as the Brazilian confirmed: “I am staying at PSG next season! And with the ambition to return to the Champions League final, this time to win it.”
Barcelona 2020-21 Transfer Purchases
- Miralem Pjanić | $73 million (Juventus)
- Francisco Trincão | $38 million (Braga)
- Matheus Fernandes | $8 million (Palmeiras)
- Pedri | $6 million (Las Palmas)
Barcelona 2020-21 Transfer Sales
- Arthur | $88 million (Juventus)
- Carles Pérez | $13 million (Roma)
- Marc Cucurella | $12 million (Getafe)
- Ivan Rakitić | $2 million (Sevilla)
A lot will happen between now and the start of the new LaLiga season, but that start — a home match against Villarreal — is now only 25 days away (Sunday, Sep. 27). That’s not a lot of time for Koeman to implement his brand of Totaal Voetbaal in a 4-3-3 formation, but he’ll damn sure try.
Here’s our take, as things stand now, on the potential Barcelona starting lineup 2020. The man who looks set to benefit most is Antoine Griezmann, who spent most of last season trying to stay out of Messi and Suárez’s lanes but could now be transformed à la Memphis Depay under Koeman.
Potential Barcelona Starting Lineup 2020
GK: Marc-André ter Stegen; LB: Junior Firpo, LCB: Clément Lenglet, RCB: Gerard Piqué, RB: Nélson Semedo; CDM: Miralem Pjanić, CDM: Frenkie de Jong, CAM: Philippe Coutinho; LW: Ansu Fati, ST: Antoine Griezmann, RW: Ousmane Dembélé