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The five ramifications for Barcelona after transfer embargo

FC Barcelona

If their ban on signing players for the next two transfer windows is upheld after an inevitable appeal from the club, the Catalans could be in dire straits.

Barcelona have been handed a 14-month transfer embargo by FIFA which will prevent them from making additions to the playing staff across the next two transfer windows.

The ban, imposed for being in breach of signing international players under the age of 18, means Barca will also be unable to sell any of their players until the summer of 2015 unless the club's inevitable appeal is turned down.

It is unclear whether or not Barca, who were also fined 450,000 Swiss francs - equivalent to around £305,000 will be able to complete any impending transfers or if the stance will be softened upon appeal to allow a rebuilding programme this summer.

Either way, it will hit the 2011 European champions hard, with several first-teamers not the force of old and others looking set for the exit door.

Here are the five ramifications for the La Liga outfit after the ban and what they could mean:

1) ter Stegen in limbo

Barca were reportedly on the verge of sealing the signing of Borussia Mönchengladbach goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and the German outfit had even moved to sign FC Basel shot-stopper Yann Sommer to fill the void left by the 21-year-old's departure.

Gladbach announced the arrival of Sommer and that ter Stegen would switch to "a foreign club", which is widely believed to be Barca, who themselves were set to experience a goalkeeping merry-go-round of their own with Victor Valdes reportedly on the verge of a switch to Monaco.

It all leaves everything up in the air as far as Barca and ter Stegen are concerned and, with no official ratification that a deal has been processed, will the Spaniards be able to boast the German talent in their ranks next season?

2) Pinto's time to shine

Perhaps the most laughable aspect to all this is, should Valdes' departure be sealed and ter Stegen not signed, then Barca would be left with fellow custodian Jose Manuel Pinto in goal.

Pinto was criticised just last night for Atletico Madrid's goal in the Champions League 1-1 draw and, while it does a slight disservice to Diego's breathtaking strike, the keeper failed to cover himself in glory at his near post.

The Spanish veteran has played nothing other than a bit-part role for Barca but has been responsible for some high-profile clangers and has hardly inspired confidence when stepping up to deputise for Valdes.

3) No Puyol replacement

Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen, David Luiz. That is just three but it feels like Barcelona's list for a central defender is their most lengthiest and, arguably, most pressing need after Carlos Puyol announced his intentions to leave the club in the summer after persistent knee injuries.

It intensified Barca's search for a central defender, with Jan Vertonghen and Mats Hummels just two others touted for prospective moves to the Nou Camp to step into the former captain's sizeable boots.

But now, with the embargo placed upon them, their hopes of landing a central defender appear in grave doubt and, with just the relatively inexperienced Marc Barta behind Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano, Barca could face something of a defensive crisis.

4) Xavi on the wane

It has been apparent for the last couple of years now, that Xavi's impact on games isn't quite as dominant as it used to be.

It has coincided with mixed success across the board for Barca, who relinquished their La Liga crown, albeit briefly, to Real Madrid in 2012 before being thumped 7-0 on aggregate by Bayern Munich in last season's Champions League semi-final.

It all points to a need for reinforcements in positions other than just the obvious ones for Barca, who may have required as many as four or five to reach the pantheon of European football once more.

5) Added pressure to Halilovic

The Croatian teen, dubbed the next Lionel Messi, may have to prove the tag he has been handed is more attainable than perhaps first thought, with the club unable to now bring in the bona fide world class forward talents they may ultimately be seeking.

Instead, they may have to rely on the 17-year-old to step up and make himself counted from his infant stages at the Nou Camp, despite only having experience in the Croatian league with Dinamo Zagreb on his CV.

He does have a Champions League appearance to his name but entrusting Halilovic with any sort of first-team expectation is born out of necessity rather than desire.

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