The main purpose of my post is to put forth a relatively (please see the disclaimers at the bottom) realistic Barca team for next season which would challenge Bayern Munich. I’m not looking at the whole season, but just one (or two) game(s) against Bayern Munich (and the likes).
GK: Ter Stegen (or Courtois)
The GK is either of them simply because Valdes is leaving
5-defensive players are always going to be BEHIND THE BALL to prevent counters. Each one of them is tall to battle aerial balls and, barring Busquets to an extent, is PHYSICALLY IMPOSING
Busquets could be the centre man spraying passes forward to Thiago, Iniesta and Messi much like Xavi now. He is intelligent, calm, technically sound, a brilliant passer and unbelievably composed on the ball.
Song could stand on the right to intercept the balls going that way. Chiellini would do the same on the left.
Pique and Hummels would be behind them
All 5-offense players are extremely mobile and DIFFICULT TO MARK OUT of a game by a Single man – each one of them ideally requires a minimum of 2 players to stop them from creating something
THERE ARE GOALS in each one of the front three men. This has probably been Barca’s biggest weakness in recent times – the drying up of goals by from the left and right forwards (I personally believe a big problem has been no left-footed players playing on the right since Messi moved centre – right-footed players are easier to mark in that area of the pitch). Other teams could afford to leave the Wingers alone and concentrate on Messi. That would be impossible with these 3 attacking.
Neymar is a genuine goal threat (even from the left)
Robben is a genuine goal threat (even from the right)
Messi is a genuine goal threat. PERIOD.
As much as I would like this to be realistic, Chiellini is unlikely to want to leave Juventus (and Juventus are unlikely to want to sell him – although they are mighty interested in Alexis)
Bayern Munich are unlikely to want to sell Robben to Barca even though Pep is likely to want to move him out of Bayern (I cannot genuinely think of any other left-footed goal scorer being available – Bale would be too expensive). Robben virtually guarantees 15 goals a season which would be much welcome from the right.
Ter Stegen (or Courtois), Pinto, Oier, Adriano, Montoya, Puyol (upto him), Bartra, Pique, Hummels, Chiellini, Alba, Song, Busquets, Xavi, Thiago, Fabregas, Iniesta, Sergi Roberto, Messi, Neymar, Tello, Robben, Pedro, Deulofeu
Squad outs: Valdes, Alves, Abidal (I like him a lot, but simply no space with the ins), JDS, Affelay, Cuenca, Puyol (only if it’s true that he wants to leave), Mascherano (no space in CB – would rather give Bartra time, and him playing DM would pretty much change Barca’s style of keeping ball in midfield), Villa, Alexis ( I would genuinely like to see him at Barca for another season, but not at the expense of Chiellini)
Squad ins: Ter Stegen (or Courtois), Hummels, Chiellini, Neymar, Robben
Net spend: 45 = 155 (20+30+35+50+20) - 90 (10+10+0+4+5+7+4+15+12+23) - 20 (hopefully Nike sponsors 20 for Neymar)
There should be a million or so made by the freed up wages as well (especially Alves, Villa, Puyol)