In depth

Luis Enrique's plans for 2016/17 FC Barcelona

A center-back and a 4th striker are the priority

Luis Enrique's plans for 2016/17 FC Barcelona
Luis Enrique's plans for 2016/17 FC Barcelona

A center-back and a 4th striker are the priority

Luis Enrique

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3 matches are left for the end of the season but FC Barcelona has been working in next season for a long time. One of the problems of this season has been the lack of numbers of squad members and Luis Enrique has had to use the same ideal XI of last season. Xavi and Pedro's departures affected the team and only Sergi Roberto improved considerably.

In the next months, the technical director Robert Fernández will have to work a lot in signings, transfers and the future of players on loan in other teams. The objective is clear: create a team with competition in every place.

Goalkeeper - What will Ter Stegen do?

After months of doubts, this week the German said in an interview he wanted to stay in FC Barcelona, but we'll have to see if he gets important offers. Ter Stegen would like to play all the matches, like Claudio Bravo. This competition benefitted FC Barcelona a lot, so Valdés' replacement was a success. Now it's time for them to benefit the team and stay in the club. The continuity of Masip will depend on the goalkeeper's will. If he leaves, a new goalkeeper from La Masia could reach first team.

Defense - The position with more probable changes

This season, FC Barcelona 34% more of goals in comparison to last season, so the defensive drop should be reviewed. The 4 starters (Alves, Piqué, Mascherano and Jordi Alba) still don't have competition and Luis Enrique asked the signing of a center-back as a priority. Regarding substitutes, Mathieu is the only who is trusted by the coach. Douglas, Vermaelen and Adriano have many numbers to leave because they don't have the level of Barça. Bartra could stay if he keeps working like in the last weeks, but he could also find a way out to have more minutes. Aleix Vidal might have overcome problems with Luis Enrique and could have a second chance. Apart from the signing of a center-back, it should be also considered to incorporate a left-back to compete with Alba.

Midfield - Denis Suárez and anything else?

The midfield is the most well-covered position, so there might no be many changes. Iniesta, Rakitic, Arda Turan, Sergi Roberto and Rafinha form a good squad of midfielders, and we should consider the arrival of Denis Suárez, who did a great season with Villarreal. If Arda doesn't leave due to a million-pound offer, no-one else will come. Regarding the defensive midfield position, Sergio Busquets will keep being the absolute owner. If a new center-back comes, Mascherano could be his main substitute in moments he needs to rest. We will also have to see the role of Barça B Sergi Samper, one of the main prospects from La Masia. Will he leave on loan or will he have a place in the first team?

Forward - A 4th striker

After the center-back, the big priority is a 4th striker, which Luis Enrique already asked in the winter market. Nolito is the first name on the list, but the names of Gameiro, Lucas Pérez or Alcácer appeared. Munir will have to decide whether to stay or leave on loan to keep growing as a player. On the other hand, Sandro will have to pack his bags as the coach doesn't count on him.

On-loan players - None of them have chances to come back

Barça have 4 players on loan around the world and none of then have options to come backHalilovic is liked by the sports board, but he needs to keep growing after a good season at Sporting Gijón. Montoya improved in Betis after bad experience in Inter Milan, but he has no place in Barça and will have to find a way out. Tello has been two seasons out (Porto and Fiorentina) and will have to find a new destination away from Camp Nou, because the staff don't count on him. Finally, Song has not done a good season at West Ham and Barça could think about the termination of his contract.