Now that Ronald Koeman has been installed as Barcelona’s new manager, one of his first tasks will be to assess the relative merits and demerits of the players in his squad.
If his words during his press conference, cited by the official Barcelona website, are taken in context, then it would appear that the players in the squad who are over 30 years of age might find their options limited from next season.
“From today we will get to work and if decisions have to be made, we will make them,” he said per FCBarcelona.com.
“I think it is the moment to give opportunities to the young players who deserve it. We are not afraid, if they can prove they are up for it.”
The question is who of the elder statesman should be making way for younger talent?
The Uruguayan still knows where the goal is as he proved throughout 2019/20, however, he’s lost more than a yard of pace and often only appears to have got in the team on occasions because Lionel Messi enjoys his working relationship.
His connection with Messi can’t be understated, because when Alba is in the mood Barca are dangerous. It’s notable that most of the Catalans chances come as a result of the play in the left channel. With no young players at his level at the moment, it’s a no-brainer.
Has been Barca’s best defender for years, taking over the role from Carles Puyol with ease. Like his contemporaries, his pace has all but gone, but his intelligence, positional awareness and aerial presence still make him a worthwhile candidate in central defence for another 12 months.
Has had a raw deal from the supporters for some while now, despite being an able and capable performer. Still far from a liability, he is probably past his sell by date for this club.
Was brought in to provide energy, strength and power from the midfield, and he’s done exactly what he said on the tin. Could be relied upon for much the same role next season, but isn’t the type of player that Koeman would want in his midfield.
Has been a victim of his own success. The unsung hero for many years, his mistakes and misplaced passes during last season have been very noticeable indeed. Was never the quickest player in any event, so doesn’t even have pace to get him out of trouble. Frenkie de Jong needs to be played in his rightful position, meaning Busi will have to accept a subs role at best.
Verdict: Keep (as back-up only)
Not even a discussion to be had here.
Clearly, Koeman has his work cut out, and Barcelona’s success in 2020/21 could be dependant on how he manages this element of his new role.