Barcelona's 2023/24 squad: Keep, sell, loan or release this summer

  • Barcelona have a few personnel decisions to make ahead of next season
  • Xavi is set to leave the club and financial problems still exist
  • 90min assesses which players they should keep, sell, loan or release

Barcelona are trying to restore their former glory days
Barcelona are trying to restore their former glory days / Soccrates Images/GettyImages
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Barcelona are set for changes at the top in the summer, with head coach Xavi set to leave the club - unless he has a sudden change of heart - and a fifth permanent boss since 2017 hired.

The club continues to battle against financial restrictions caused by severe mismanagement under the previous regime but have been able to keep the wolves from the door.

What is apparent when assessing their squad is that his remains a delicate window of transition, with a 16-year-old, a 17-year-old and an injured 19-year-old among their best and most important players.

But which players from the 2023/24 squad should be kept for next season, and which need to be sold, loaned out or released...


KEEP

Lamine Yamal
Lamine Yamal is the future of Barcelona / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen - Remains one of the best all-round goalkeepers in the world when fit and it will be hoped a back problem that has ruled the German out of games this season is behind.

GK: Inaki Pena - His shortcomings as a starting goalkeeper at this level have arguably been exposed in Ter Stegen’s injury absence, but as a stand-in he’s fine.

DEF: Ronald Araujo - The only reason to sell would be if a monstrous offer from a suitor came in that would be a huge boost to the club’s finances. But with Bayern Munich’s interest cooling, that seems unlikely. Otherwise, he remains of vital importance to Barca.

DEF: Jules Kounde - His mastery of two positions in the backline makes the Frenchman absolutely vital and is he just about to hit his peak years.

DEF: Andreas Christensen - The Dane is another who has shown an aptitude for two different positions, having moved into a holding midfield role since the start of February.

DEF: Alejandro Balde - He should be back next season as good as new after undergoing surgery to repair a hamstring tendon. Still only 20 and has his best years ahead of him.

DEF: Inigo Martinez - Last summer's free agent signing has mostly filled a squad role since arriving at Barca, but it is necessary to keep relatively inexpensive depth on hand.

DEF: Pau Cubarsi - Made his La Liga debut the day before turning 17 in January and has started all but one game in the league since then. The one he didn't, the youngster was brought on at half-time.

DEF: Joao Cancelo - Barca had initially wanted a permanent buy clause in the loan agreement with Manchester City but that didn't make it into the final paperwork. The Portuguese has started most games since his September arrival and if the numbers work, the club has to keep him.

DEF: Eric Garcia - There is no option to buy in the loan agreement with Girona and Barca may wonder if this season has kickstarted something in the ex-Manchester City defender.


Gavi
Barcelona are praying for the day Gavi is back on the pitch / Stuart Franklin/GettyImages

MID: Gavi - Ruled out for between eight and ten months with an ACL injury, Barcelona's midfield prodigy may no longer be a teenager by the time he's back playing early next season.

MID: Pedri - Persistent muscle injuries have been like playing with the handbrake on since his relentless 2020/21 breakout season. It will be a while before Barca give up on the midfielder, now 21, but he has to prove his consistent fitness sooner rather than later.

MID: Frenkie de Jong - Although a deal was agreed to sell the Dutchman to Manchester United in 2022, he didn't want to go and that stance hasn't changed. Both he and president Joan Laporta have regularly expressed that in the press.

MID: Ilkay Gundogan - Barca are getting a decent return on the pitch from the veteran former Manchester City captain and that will continue until his contract reaches its expiry in 2025, or 2026 if an extension option is triggered.

MID: Oriol Romeu - Inexpensive squad depth. At worst, he spends most of next season on the bench just in case he is needed, but it doesn't cost the club a fortune.

MID: Fermin Lopez - Most of his appearances in this breakout season have come as a substitute but he's only 20 and has shown himself capable of popping up with a goal in recent weeks.

FWD: Robert Lewandowski - With 20 goals by the end of March, this could be the first season the Pole fails to reach 30 across all competitions since 2014/15 when he was new at Bayern Munich. He might stop proving his worth before his contract is up in 2026, but that's tomorrow's problem.

FWD: Vitor Roque - Barca have invested heavily in the young Brazilian as they attempt to beat Real Madrid to South America's best emerging talents. He won't turn 20 until midway through next season.

FWD: Ferran Torres - Still only 24, he's on course to enjoy the best goalscoring league season of his career, having already matched the seven he got for Manchester City in the Premier League in 2020/21. Probably needs to up that considerably to be truly worth it in the long-term.

FWD: Lamine Yamal - To be arguably Barcelona and Spain's best player at the age of 16 is genuinely unbelievable. Fans will want more goals than the six in 39 appearances so far in 2023/24 and pray that he's more physically resilient than Pedri, but the sky is the limit.


LOAN

Ansu Fati
Ansu Fati needs to prove his fitness / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

DEF: Julian Araujo - The American is finding his feet out on loan at an impressive Las Palmas but perhaps hasn't started enough games to come straight back to Camp Nou.

DEF: Hector Fort - Set to turn 18 in August, now might be a good time to test himself at a higher level than Barcelona B if they fall short in their aim of promotion to he second tier.

MID: Pablo Torre - Part of Girona's high-flying squad this season, there will be an opportunity to play Champions League football if he goes back for another loan.

FWD: Ansu Fati - It feels too premature to call it quits on the former teen prodigy's Barca career. More injury trouble has disrupted his loan at Brighton but his contract with Barca runs until 2027 so there is still time for him to get things right back home if a new loan proves successful.

FWD: Marc Guiu - The teenager has shown an eye for goal in a handful of first-team appearances so far and could benefit from the opportunity to play regularly elsewhere next season.


SELL

Sergino Dest
Barcelona gave PSV an option to sign Sergino Dest / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

DEF: Sergino Dest - The Dutch full-back has previously admitted his Barca career is likely over for as long as Xavi remained in charge. That won’t be the case for much longer and he has resurrected his stalled career at PSV Eindhoven. Yet it’s difficult to believe the Eredivisie club won’t make use of the €10m option in their loan agreement.

DEF: Clement Lenglet - A strong end to the Premier League season on loan with Aston Villa, where he has only started games regularly since Tyrone Mings’ injury, could allow Barca to sell to the highest bidder come summer. There is no option in his loan.

FWD: Raphinha - 15 goals and assists across all competitions this season is a decent return for a player not regularly starting. But the Brazilian is potentially a saleable asset that could bring in some good cash to reinvest if a middling Premier League side or one from Saudi Arabia comes forward.


RELEASE

Sergi Roberto
Sergi Roberto may have reached the end of the road / Diego Souto/GettyImages

DEF: Marcos Alonso - Signed as a stop-gap in the midst of financial strife, Barca can do better than a 33-year-old who, even when fit - which he hasn't always been - doesn't get into the strongest XI.

MID: Sergi Roberto - The 32-year-old has progressed to the role of club captain by just being there but hasn't contributed as a regular starter since 2019/20. He'll always have La Remontada.

FWD: Joao Felix - Barca don't hold a predetermined option to make his loan from Atletico Madrid permanent, but he hasn't done enough to warrant paying what could be a hefty fee.


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