Following an embarrassing exit from the Champions League this term via a 7-0 defeat on aggregate to finalists Bayern Munich, Barcelona are expected to make drastic, if not wholesale changes this summer.
Even the best football team in the world has some room for improvement it seems as the Catalans were brushed aside by possibly the new best football team in the world, Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
However, Barca maestro Xavi has asserted his belief that the club don’t need a complete overhaul in their squad this summer.
"At key moments this season we have not reached our peak and I am in favour of chaining things up,” he stated.
"But just because it seems that we are in a bad situation does not mean that we have to change the whole team. We are in a good moment."
It would have been completely incomprehensible even mere months ago to even dream of suggesting the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi could be replaced – lets face it, despite the defeat, they are still three of the best players that have ever played the game.
However, whilst I suspect those three are safe, there will undoubtedly be some departures from the Camp Nou this summer – certain squad players whether on the periphery or regularly involved in the first team have not performed at the standard expected by Barcelona, something that Xavi admitted in his next breath.
“We have set the bar so high that it now seems that winning league titles is just what we do. But it's very difficult to win a title every year," he continued.
"We have been successful with our philosophy and I hope that it lasts. I hope to maintain this high level of performance over the last three years of my contract."
I would imagine Xavi, Iniesta and Messi will remain the most important figures at Barcelona for many years to come but, apart from them, the same cannot be said for the rest of the team.
Dani Alvez has had an exemplary season and Jordi Alba is a fine left-back but I suspect there will be changes made to the central defence and goalkeeping positions.
Gerard Pique is an important figure but his performance against Bayern Munich was calamitous. As for Marc Bartra, Alan Hanson’s catchphrase springs to mind: he was very very poor. Woeful.
Victor Valdes has expressed his desire to leave of his own accord and, after the debut La Liga season Alex Song has had, I would expect him to be shipped out along with some surprising underachievers this term – namely Cesc Fabregas, Alexis Sanchez and Cristian Tello.
I have my doubts that, having worked so arduously to get Fabregas back, he will be sold – I think he’ll remain in his hometown, despite rumours linking him with a return to England.
As for Sanchez and Tello, I would expect them to be sold – to whom is still unknown.
Xavi has no real cause for concern about his own position but the same cannot be said for many of his teammates who, despite winning the La Liga title this season, simply have not made the grade.
image: © jeroen_bennink