5 players to help Barca reign supreme again
Posted on June 12, 2012 by Andrew Younger
After looking invincible in recent years, the 2011-2012 season was somewhat disappointing for Barcelona, despite winning the Copa Del Rey, European Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. Ultimately though, being pipped to the La Liga crown by arch rivals Real Madrid and failing to hold on to their Champions League crown results in a rather baron year for the Catalan club, which in itself pays testament to the astonishing highs they have reached in recent years gone by.
There will be much change in the coaching department with Pep Guardiola departing after four years, with Tito Vilanova taking his place. How can the new manager put Barcelona back on top of both Spanish and European football? Here I take a look at 5 players that could help propel Barcelona back to the top:
There has been constant speculation surrounding Bale’s future this season, with Barcelona a keen admirer of the Welshman’s talent. With Tottenham losing out on Champions League qualification after Chelsea’s success, the north London club have a fight on their hands to keep their star player. Bale would give Barcelona a terrific option on the left side of the pitch where the health and long term fitness of Eric Abidal remain a question.
His capabilities in both attack and defence make him an attractive prospect for a club like Barcelona who have an identical type of player in Dani Alves on the opposite flank. Bale can provide the team with balance and an extra option down the left side of the pitch where they lack the depth of top teams around them.
With David Villa not completely settled at the Camp Nou and suffering a major leg break last year, Barcelona’s forward options have been exposed as threadbare. Then again, when you have Lionel Messi, who needs a striker? Even still, without an out an out forward on the field last campaign Barcelona were found wanting at times and often played players out of position to fill the void upfront.
Fernando Llorente continues to impress in Spain and after a fantastic campaign last season, it could be his time to make a step up. His ability to hold the ball up and bring others into play could work brilliantly with the likes of Messi, Iniesta and Fabregas likely to benefit from the selfless style of the Bilbao frontman.
Barcelona have thought to be interested in the Milan defender for a while now and with worries over the long term fitness of captain Carles Puyol, it may be time to invest. Silva has developed into a top defender in his time at Milan, coupling typical Brazilian flair with Italian defensive efficiency and would compliment the footballing philosophy of Barcelona.
With Barcelona often deploying Javier Mascherano or Sergio Busquets at centre-back, it is their weakest area of the pitch and they are in need of a third senior centre-back to compliment the young talents like Andreu Fontas and Marc Muniesa. Who better than Silva to fill that void?
A former Masia product, Alba already has the Barca philosophy drilled into from his youth. Since joining Valencia in 2007, Alba has developed into a fine attacking left back which has seen him gain international recognition of late, starting in Spain’s Euro 2012 curtain raiser against Italy.
Top clubs across Europe are interested in Alba and it is thought he would prefer a move back to the club he joined at just 9 years old. Alba would not take long to adjust to Barcelona’s style of play and would give them a threat of attacking from both flanks with fellow marauding full back Dani Alves on the opposite side.
We’ve all seen enough videos on YouTube to know that this guy is one hell of a player. Barcelona are consistently linked as the front runners for Neymar’s signature and with the ability he possesses, only the biggest of stages will do. Neymar has established himself in the Brazilian national side and has already bagged over 100 goals in all competition for Santos.
There is no doubt that he has the ability to become one of the worlds best and if he is to do that, European football is almost essential. Will Barcelona be the team to nurture his potential?
Do you think these players could help Barcelona overthrow Madrid and re-establish themselves as the top team in Spain? If not, what players do you think Barcelona need to win La Liga next season?