Seven games into the new La Liga season, Barcelona languish in 8th place with only three wins. The Blaugrana were rocked by Lionel Messi’s demand to leave the club early in the summer but managed to get him to see out his contract this season. The Catalan side look a shadow of themselves since the 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League.
Teams no longer fear this Barca team and are picking them apart by taking the game to them. After two big wins to kick start their campaign, the Catalan side have won only one of their last five games in La Liga. Many fans are concerned that teams on the local front don’t fear Barca anymore and have identified weak spots in the team. The demons of the 8-2 defeat to Bayern are still within the camp and need to be banished sooner rather than later.
Many pundits opined that after the disintegration of Barca’s golden generation, the transitional phase would be very difficult if the right plans weren’t put in place. Players like Dani Alves, Xavi and Iniesta all left the club and have not been replaced by competent players. Sergi Roberto and Nelson Semedo have all failed to emulate Brazil legend, Alves, turning in lukewarm performances since his departure. Fans have been frustrated with the club’s dealings in the transfer market particularly regarding the sale of Arthur Melo (a player tipped to be the next Xavi) to Juventus in exchange for 30-year old, Miralem Pjanic. Transfer business like this has seen many in the boardroom come under intense pressure culminating in the resignation of club president, Josep Maria Bartomeu. The club is at its lowest point in many years and the rot doesn’t seem to end there. The club’s handling of Luis Suarez’s departure has been described by many as gross, disgraceful and completely inexplicable. To kick a man, that has contributed to the club’s success in the last 6 years, out in such a manner makes it difficult not to believe what Dani Alves said about the club and its hierarchy. After sealing a move to Turin, the right-back hit back at the club and said they don’t know how to treat players and are ungrateful. After watching Suarez leave a club he dedicated his all to in such a manner, these comments concern fans greatly.
Barca need a way out of this predicament they find themselves in amidst this pandemic. Presidential elections have been brought forward to 17th January 2020 and whoever wins that vote has his work cut out for him. First on the new President’s agenda will be to convince star man Lionel Messi to sign a new contract and change his plans to leave for free in the summer of 2021. The clubs finances and recruitment remain in disarray and will need to be worked on, to ensure the club can make purchases to rebuild the team. Trust with fans is at an all-time low and the team will need to turn up its performances to get the support from their endearing fans. Recruitment in problem positions such as center back, midfield and striking positions need to be done quickly but wisely to put the club back to the position they are used to. The next eight months will be key to the Blaugrana in determining whether this leads to a downward spiral or a revival both locally and internationally