August 9, 2022

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Barcelona 2022-23 Season Preview: Summer Signings, Rumours and Squad Profile

9 min read

Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Robert_Lewandowski_-_2018_FIFA_World_Cup_-_Match_47.jpg

Barcelona have been the surprise packages of this summer transfer window, and all eyes will be on them when the 2022-23 season campaign starts.

The Catalan giants have spent over £140million on transfers so far – the most by any club in Europe – and their fans are very excited ahead of the season given the quality of the signings they have made.

Having failed to end last season with silverware, Barca simply cannot afford to go another term without winning a major trophy, and failure to do so after all their spending will be catastrophic and embarrassing.

Having gone three seasons without the La Liga title and seven seasons without the Champions League, manager Xavi Hernandez will be looking to bring the glory days back to Camp Nou, but he has his work cut out for him given the fierce and quality competition available in the domestic and European leagues.

It is going to be an interesting season ahead for the Blaugranas, and a look at what they have done so far and a preview of what could still happen is detailed below.

 

Transfer Review

Barcelona have landed six players, while six others have left.

Francisco Trincao and Clement Lenglet have joined Sporting Lisbon and Tottenham Hotspur respectively on season-long loans, while little-known Moussa Wague has joined Croatian side Gorica permanently.

Dani Alves has ended his second spell at Camp Nou after his short-term deal expired, moving to Liga MX club UNAM Pumas.

Philippe Coutinho made his move to Aston Villa permanent after spending the second-half of 2021-22 on loan at the Premier League side, and Oscar Mingueza has left for Celta Vigo.

At the other end, the duo of Ivory Coast international defensive midfielder Franck Kessie and Denmark international centre-back Andreas Christensen arrived at the Spanish giants after the end of their deals at AC Milan and Chelsea respectively.

Brazilian forward Raphinha swapped Leeds United for Barca in a £55million deal, Robert Lewandowski joined from Bayern Munich for £42.5million, Jules Kounde moved from Sevilla for a similar fee, while Pablo Torre joined from Racing de Santander.

With debts surpassing £1billion, many have wondered how Barca have been able to make huge moves this summer.

The Catalans have sacrificed future income for an immediate cash injection, selling 10% of their La Liga TV rights for the next 25 years to US-based private equity company Sixth Street.

The deal with the global investment firm will generate £230million of revenue for this season’s accounts, with their initial investment worth £179million for their share of the TV rights.

Additionally, Barcelona have sold 24.5 per cent of their studios arm to blockchain-enabled fan token platform Socios.com for £84million to accelerate the club’s audiovisual, blockchain, NFT and Web.3 strategy.

This will help them register new signings for the 2022-23 season as strict spending caps in La Liga have made them unable to register their new arrivals with the Spanish league.

It has been an impressive transfer window so far from the Catalans, and the extent to which they have gone to make the moves possible is incredible.

 

Transfer Rumours

Barca are definitely not done with their transfer businesses this summer, and more outgoings and incomings are expected.

Given their need to balance the books, Xavi’s side still very much want to sell Frenkie de Jong, with Chelsea reportedly joining Manchester United in the race for the Dutchman.

The midfielder’s international teammate Memphis Depay could also leave Camp Nou this summer given the attacking options available to Xavi.

According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, the attacker and club are in talks over a contract termination in order to allow him to become a free agent.

Depay is said to be keen on joining a top club should he leave the La Liga side, and with just a year remaining on his contract, it will be interesting to see how things turn out in the coming days.

The Italian journalist also recently reported that Riqui Puig is set to join MLS outfit LA Galaxy permanently on a three-year contract.

The Spanish midfielder alongside Neto, Samuel Umtiti and Martin Braithwaite were all left out of the squad for the pre-season tour of the United States, and the trio could also be on their way out.

Miralem Pjanic is also a player whose future at the club is not certain after spending last term on loan with Turkish giants Besiktas.

Barcelona could also listen to offers for full-back Sergino Dest, and should they manage to cash in on the players not in Xavi’s plans, that could pave way for them to bring in Manchester City Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva.

He has been linked with Barca all summer, but a move will likely depend on what happens with de Jong and co.

 

Team Preview

Xavi will name his 25-man squad once the transfer window shuts, but things are already starting to get clearer.

With over 30 players still at the club, six will not be making the final list, and fans can guess who they are likely to be.

At the moment, here are the players still around with their current squad numbers.

 

1. Marc-Andre ter Stegen

The German goalkeeper is expected to remain at the club despite some rumours linking him with a summer exit.

He has been Barca’s first-choice for a while and that is not likely to change anytime soon.

 

2. Sergino Dest

Could we see a new No. 2 at Camp Nou this season?

The US international, 21, featured in 21 league games last term, assisting thrice, but he will need to do better if he remains at the club beyond this summer.

Alves’ exit could give him a chance to further establish himself as first-choice at right-back, and this season could be his last chance to do so.

 

3. Gerard Pique

The arrival of Kounde could limit the playing time of the veteran centre-back this term.

At 35, the Spaniard does not have a lot of years left in him at the top of the game, and with just two years left on his deal, it is safe to say Pique is edging closer to hanging his boots.

 

4. Ronald Araujo

The Uruguayan, 23, featured in 30 league games last term, and he is expected to play alongside Kounde in the middle of the defence.

Araujo can also play at right-back, and with five top centre-backs available, Xavi could opt to deploy him in the position.

 

5. Sergio Busquets

The 34-year-old is in the last year of his current contract, but after featuring in 36 league games last term, he is not showing any signs of slowing down just yet.

Busquets is expected to play a key role for Barca again this season, and a contract extension cannot be ruled out.

 

6. Riqui Puig

With the 22-year-old seemingly on his way out after just two league starts last term, Barcelona are set to have a new No. 6.

One of the arrivals could take it up or an old player could be interested in changing numbers.

 

7. Ousmane Dembele

The Frenchman, 25, eventually signed a two-year deal after his old contract expired, and after ending last term with 13 assists and a goal in 21 league games, he will be keen to do more going forward.

Dembele scored four times during the club’s tour of the U.S, and Barca could do with more of his goals in their bid to challenge for major silverware in 2022-23.

 

8. Pedri

The 19-year-old battled injuries last term, managing to feature in just 12 La Liga games.

Xavi needs him to be fit this season, and given his huge potential, he could play a huge role in the side’s campaign.

 

9. Memphis Depay

Many expect Lewandowski to be Barca’s new No. 9 even if Depay remains at the club beyond this summer.

The Dutchman made 28 league appearances last term, scoring 12 times and assisting twice.

However, his playing chances will be limited if he does not move elsewhere this term.

 

10. Ansu Fati

Replacing Lionel Messi as the new No. 10 at Camp Nou was not going to be easy for anyone, and injuries further made things tough for the 19-year-old.

Nevertheless, Fati scored four times in 10 league games, and should he stay fit in 2022-23, he could fire his side to the top of the division.

 

11. Ferran Torres

Barca’s No. 11 is yet to justify his huge fees after arriving from Man City in January, and he will be hoping to prove himself in the new season.

The 22-year-old scored four goals and assisted another four in 18 league games, and he needs to improve his finishing in the final third given his knack for missing chances.

 

12. Martin Braithwaite

Four league appearances last term have shown where the Denmark international belongs in Xavi’s plans.

With more players even now ahead of him in the pecking order, the 31-year-old is expected to call time on his Barcelona career despite still having two more years left on his deal.

 

13. Neto

The Brazilian goalkeeper featured thrice in the La Liga last term, but with just a year left on his deal, he is likely to be on his way out from the look of things.

 

14. Nico Gonzalez

The 20-year-old featured in 27 league games last term, but the arrival of the more experienced Kessie could see him struggle for regular chances going forward.

 

15. Andreas Christensen

The Dane swapped Chelsea for Barca after his contract expired at the end of last season.

While he is not tipped to become a regular in the starting XI, the 26-year-old will be looking to break into the team and prove his worth.

 

16. Miralem Pjanic

The No. 16 jersey could soon become vacant, and while he has two years to go on his deal, a temporary or permanent exit appears to be on the cards in the coming weeks for the Bosnia and Herzegovina international, 32.

 

17. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The former Arsenal man bagged 11 goals in 17 league games last term after joining the side in January.

However, the arrival of Lewandowski could see him play less or feature on the wings.

 

18. Jordi Alba

Despite being 33, the Spain international still has a lot to offer, assisting teammates 10 times and scoring twice in 30 league games last term.

The pacy left-back will be keen to show that he deserves to be playing regularly for his country ahead of the World Cup.

 

19. Franck Kessie

The Ivorian will hope to have a similar impact as his compatriot Yaya Toure in the Barcelona colours, and it will be intriguing to see how that goes.

 

20. Sergi Roberto

The 30-year-old struggled with a hamstring injury for a large chunk of last term, featuring in just nine league games.

He will be looking to get back in rhythm ahead of the World Cup by making the right-back starting berth his once again.

 

21. Frenkie de Jong

The Netherlands international is not particularly keen on leaving Barcelona, but should Chelsea manage to convince him, an exit could be on the cards.

 

22. Raphinha

The forward got the only goal and winner against Real Madrid during their friendly in the U.S last month just a couple of days after his unveiling, and he will be dreaming of hitting the ground running in Spain and setting Camp Nou on fire.

The 25-year-old scored 11 goals and assisted thrice in 35 Premier League games last term to help Leeds secure safety, and he could be guiding his new side to major trophies this term and going forward.

 

23. Samuel Umtiti

The Frenchman is expected to seal an exit this summer after making just a single league appearance last season.

 

24. Eric Garcia

The 21-year-old featured in 26 league games last term, but whether he can keep his place in the team following the addition of Kounde remains to be seen.

 

26. Inaki Pena

The 23-year-old is yet to make his official debut for Barcelona despite spending 10 years in their ranks.

Pena spent the second half of the campaign on loan at Galatasaray, but he is likely to be promoted as back-up goalie should Neto leave.

 

30. Gavi

The 17-year-old was one of Barca’s best players last season, assisting five goals and scoring twice in 34 league games, and he earned a call-up to the Spanish national team as a result.

All eyes will be on the kid in the new season.

 

33. Ez Abde

The Moroccan winger, 20, featured in 10 games last term, but with the additions of two forwards this summer, he could be looking to leave on loan for more playing opportunities.

 

36. Arnau Tenas

The 21-year-old goalkeeper is yet to make his first-team debut, and whether that will happen in the new season remains to be seen.

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