Barcelona: Who should the Catalan giants sell, loan or keep?

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Barcelona squad

Barcelona are in a catastrophic mess.

Their 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich last Friday was surprising, but in theory, you could see it coming.

This has been a rollercoaster year for the Catalan giants.

They suffered defeat to bottom of the table Espanyol in January and then it took an injury-time goal to defeat Ibiza in the cup. Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele both suffered long-term injuries too.

Lionel Messi also had a falling out with Eric Abidal after he blamed the squad for where things were going wrong. That was all pre-COVID.

However, the resumption of football hasn’t been kind either. Barcelona failed to win a trophy, Messi could leave and now both Quique Setien and Abidal have been sacked within days of each other.

Ronald Koeman has been widely tipped to become the new head coach at the Nou Camp and he’ll have a huge job on his hands to rejuvenate this squad. That’s if he still has one left.

Ronald Koeman arrives at Barcelona airport

It’s been reported that all but five players have been put up for sale, but what should Barca and Koeman really do?

We’ve put together their squad and worked out who should be sold, loaned out or kept at the club.

GOALKEEPERS

Marc-Andre ter Stegen – keep: None of this is the German’s fault. He was helpless for many of the goals last Friday night and still has a bright future in the game.

Neto – keep: The stopper has barely played since arriving from Valencia last summer and Barcelona need back-up ‘keepers. It would be pointless selling.

ter Stegen

DEFENDERS

Nelson Semedo – sell: The Portuguese has been at Barcelona for three years now and hasn’t really set the world alight. A player who once had a bright future, he was extremely poor against Bayern Munich. Alphonso Davies made him look silly. He isn’t good enough.

Sergio Roberto – keep: It’s crazy to think the Spaniard is now 28 but he is the type of character Barca need to keep. Learning his trade in La Masia, he can be an inspiration for the club’s next batch of promising youngsters.

Gerard Pique – sell: The defender was the first to admit at full-time last Friday that if a restructure took place, he’d leave. Pique has been a great servant to Barcelona but he is past his best.

Clement Lenglet – keep: It might be crazy to suggest that someone who shipped eight goals deserves to remain at the club, but for the most part, Lenglet has been a success in Spain. He still has plenty of room to grow too.

Lenglet and Messi

Samuel Umtiti – sell: If Barca can find defensive reinforcements in the window then Umtiti should be out the door. He largely played second fiddle and has regularly been linked away. Now is the time to cash in.

Jean-Clair Todibo – loan: The central defender was on loan with Schalke in the Bundesliga this season and could probably do with another year away to hone his skills. Everton have been interested.

Jordi Alba – keep: The left-back looked a shadow of his former self against Bayern but he is still an important presence down Barcelona’s flanks. They should keep him for the time being.

Junior Firpo – keep: Another who has barely played since arriving, Firpo is the natural heir to Alba’s throne at left-back. He has a bright future at Camp Nou.

Jordi Alba vs Bayern

MIDFIELD

Ivan Rakitic – sell: The Croatian isn’t the most popular of figures in Catalonia and this should be the year he finally exists Barcelona. The 32-year-old started just 16 times in La Liga this season.

Sergio Busquets – keep: One of Pep Guardiola’s finest, Busquets is now 32 and getting on a bit. However, he is still a fine defensive midfielder and the glue that bines this team together.

Frenkie de Jong – keep: He is a fabulous young player and is someone that under Koeman could thrive. Barca need to build their squad around individuals like De Jong.

Frenkie De Jong vs Napoli

Philippe Coutinho – sell: This has to be one of the perplexing pieces of business in football history. Signed for £142m, he has done more to hurt Barca than aid them. He scored twice against his parent club in that 8-2 drubbing last week. He doesn’t fit in at the Nou Camp and should leave.

Arturo Vidal – sell: As part of Barcelona’s major revamp, Vidal simply needs to go. He put in a strange showing against Bayern and he really has no business playing for a club of this stature at the age of 33. Barca need fresh faces.

Rafinha – sell: Another to be linked with Everton, he should be out of the door. Barca clearly have no plans for the Brazilian after he was loaned to Celta Vigo this season.

Coutinho scores for Bayern vs Barcelona

FORWARDS

Lionel Messi – sell: Controversial but this his time. Messi looked so fed up against Bayern Munich it was rather depressing. As captain, he should have been setting the tone. Instead, he was lazy and disinterested. There is no doubting his qualities but he deserves a final swansong somewhere else. He is now in the final year of his contract too.

Ousmane Dembele – keep: The Frenchman has been unfortunate with injuries but still has enormous qualities. If Messi does leave then there’ll be a void to fill on the flanks. For the money they spent on him, they should be more forgiving of his spell in Spain.

Luis Suarez – keep: Suarez is still one of the most dangerous forwards in Europe but has been linked with a move to Ajax. However, Barca can’t afford to leave themselves too much to do in the market. For the time being, they should hold onto Suarez.

Messi trudges off

Antoine Griezmann – keep: Again, another high-profile deal that hasn’t worked out. It’s been claimed that Barca could offer Griezmann in a swap deal to try and sign Neymar but they’d be better keeping hold of him, especially if Messi exits.

Martin Braithwaite – sell: Take the money and run. This was a ridiculous piece of business and after scoring just once following a move from Leganes, he is the definition of a flop.

Ansu Fati – keep: This is a young talent that Koeman needs to build the squad around. They need to keep him at all costs.

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