As JBECK12 said its highly important to be realistic when assessing a future whether it be short term or long term, all we can do as cules is speculate and exchange opinions, but the realistic die hard fans opinions and beliefs are closer to what the club actually also feels than you think !
( As the celtic fans sing "Let the people sing the stories and the songs" )
However you have to be realistic, what makes Barcelona in my opinion different to other european giants is the club is a family a club, a club that relies on its routes and does not quickly forget them. In contrast to the money minded super powers who are all out to steal and buy the next big thing on the transfer market in hope to succeed, however Barcelona produce talent that has been incredible, producing world class players for many seasons, and that partly creates a bigger and better story as to why Barcelona are so famous but also attractive to outsiders.
The way the club simply does what most people thought was forgotten and lost because of the huge money which is now involved in the game is something to be extremely proud of, implanting a structure like la masia will not happen with a wave of a wand, but serious thought and emotion. Seeing a full X1 which has come from the ranks of La Masia to me is like winning any title. I wrote an earlier post regarding Barcelona and why they didnt rush into buying a Centre back. And my answer was because of Puyol and how barca felt they had to stay loyal to him after how well he has served the club. Anyway to the main points in responce to JBeck12.
the above therefore brings me to my first point.
The question has been asked about the future of barcelona and whether a revolution is needed ? ...
the answer NO !
But as JBeck12 wrote, since the massive 7-0 defeat against Bayern Munich all kinds of knee jerk reactions of possible transfers in and out, what tactics should be changed is too far, yet it is true it simply cannot be ignored.
the solution in my opinion and by reading the post by JBeck12 is to evolve in a way keeping the main principles the same but tweaking the squad and tactics slightly.
In my opinion regarding the "homogenized" point is that it is true to and extent but it should not be completely changed, because of that Barcelona is where it is today. Yes some new players with different skill sets is needed but them being the tweaks, the spine of the team must and should always be La masia graduates (obvs depending on if they are good enough, which our young guns tend to be) Valdes, Puyol , Xavi , Iniesta and Messi was our spine more so in Pep's years but as JBeck12 says although Valdes , Xavi and Puyol still of course have there roles to play massively they aint getting any better ... and if they do WOW... And Valdes for certain looks like his time is over. We now also still have the spine. In Pique, Xavi, Iniesta, Busi (thiago soon) Messi. Its the players around that need to be tweaked.
The way Barcelona play "Tiki Taka" is always going to be a style which needs to have technically gifted players for it to work well, and most of the time the ball is played into feet quickly ( which needs deft touches and great movemnet off the ball, find space and angles etc to work) , and the way to then stretch the play is by having ball playing dribblers in the team or having players who can split defences with brilliant passes which is the contrast to having players who will run in behind so they can recieve a pass over the top which we have never really relied on. And this is part of where we have been going wrong of late in the bigger matches, which then links to JBecks12 other point regarding " the current system has become outdated " we havent been producing " Tiki taka" or commiting defenders through dribbling or risky passes.
The question is why ? .... And in my opinion it's not only that the big teams have perfectly worked out our style it's because of our own wrong doing aswell, it seems like we are just comfortable keeping possession and letting the opposition sit deep, while we "SLOWLY, UNFORCEFULLY" pass the ball. And I think the main reason we don't pass the ball with speed or with any real risk is we have become scared of our own defending, we now wait for something to happen rather than actually making it happen ( unless it's messi ) notice Messi gives the ball away most, buts it's because he's always trying to create, score and head towards goal. So in my opinion we are scared of conceding, as we know as players as a squad if we lose the ball here or there we will concede, but the fact is this slow passing actually causes more mistakes than our natural game "tiki taka".
This is mainly the same team as the amazingly successful one under Pep, so what the players have turned bad overnight ?.... No is the answer but the ability and the way the team know how best to play has been forgotten once it faces a good defensive team who counter attack with speed. And of course as JBeck12 mentions sometimes tactics do only last around 4 years, but do they? In my opinion the base of the tactic does'nt, but it evolves (which we must do), the sit deep counter at speed has always been a popular tactic and has worked for many years, but again after it almost went out after Barcelona destroyed any team in its path has returned.
With Bayern Munich, Real Madrid , Psg, Dortmund all having the ability to do this. However they have evolved it, they have adapted it. They are able to also keep possession when needed because they have talented players, but they also perfectly choose the right times to counter. And press in the right areas, they simply will not dive in when Iniesta or Messi goes on a dribble but slowly crowd them out.
That brings me onto the point of Neymar. Before the likes of Pedro used to get at players 1vs1 turn them inside out and deliver but often and I dont just single out Pedro as the problem (again its the thought of our defence) by all means but our forwards often wiggle there hips then pass the ball back and sideways, in result we create a semi-circle of passes all infont of the opposition, meaning they are able to see at all times where the ball is and each player. "PASS THE BALL, OR PASS THE BUCK" ?. It is generally like most of our players vs this kind of opposition are scared to lose the ball, like they have just frozen and dare be the one thats sets up the oppositions counter, and that simply isnt Barcelona's natural game ... so to the transfers ( the exciting part )
Neymar - I completely agree with your analysis, I know many people believe he may not be the correct signing, which he may end up not been, however I will not right off such a talented young player before he is even given a chance. People continually say "But he has no experience in Europe" ... my answer ... maybe that's a good thing for him and us, he will be out to impress, his raw talent and flair as you said may draw defenders attention away from Messi all of the time therefore freeing up his space, of course he is not the finished article but there ain't many players that are!
And as you say and if its true that the sponsors will almost certainly pay for the signing, you are telling me it's wrong people to almost buy Neymar in result for Free? .... Bargain !!
I know the Graham hunter also belives Neymar is a reckless signing .. but I have to disagree with him for once in this case ! I wish Neymar all the look and hope he proves many people wrong!
Mats Hummels - Yes Yes Yes YES ... again I completely agree with all your points, people who say he is not a ball winner simply do not watch him enough. He's one of the most pro-active defenders I've seen, people often say the difference between a striker and a defender is a striker will react first because hes ready to pounce to score, but many a times I have watched Hummels react quicker simply because he knows where the pass or cross is going ( his intelligence makes up for his speed and he isnt even really that slow ) oh and dont you just thing he's a player that genuinely would suit the Barca shirt, by this i mean obviously his footbaling ability but his attitude on the field, he doesn't seem to be a trouble maker and I believe he is the right man for the job .... however I'm still not totally convinced in that we will sign him .... I have a feeling Marquinhos of Roma could be our main target, but I wouldnt be totally against that either.
Inigo Martinez - Again it would be a brilliant signing, and a great buy for the early future, almost a steal before or "if" he reaches big heights in football. He looks set to be a great defender. will we buy him ? ... hmm maybe but I wouldn't bet on it althought it would be great.
Ter stegen - He is also simply my first choice. However I honestly think we will buy Pepe Reina on a two year deal worth around 10million. I think the Goalkeeper is a vitally important signing this year, obvioulsy that's if Valdes does leave this summer, It's a position that is vital to our style of play and someone that has similiar skills to Valdes is needed aint it ? but we also need to see the bigger picture, Although Reina probably is the nerarest in terms of skill set in comparison to Valdes, but he also has the same weaknesses which aint these what Tito said he wants to change, that being aerial battles from set pieces. It was only the other day Pepe Reina was caught in no mans land from a corner vs Everton only for the officilas to wrongly judge he was impeaded before Everton scored. And thats my main concern, why not Get a Goalkeeper with a longer span, better all round ability who can work on his passing and the sweeper role. Ter stegen is my choice too, But i believe Reina is close to been signed. However I also belive Barcelona may bring another cheaper young Goalkeeper who it maybe I do not know!
Stevan Jovetic - Firstly he is a very talented player, and I suppose his skill set is possible what we may lack, however there is no way unless Messi got injured Jovetic would play centrally, Messi is now obviously the heart of the team, we will build around him and rightly so. He has said in the past he doesn't like anyone playing infront of him, doing this would'nt free him space but cramp it even more, the outlet and to create space for Messi must come from our wide men and midfield runners which of late hasnt been happening. Do I see him been brought in.... No? However yes I would have him as a wide player of course. But I see a front line next year been ... Messi, Pedro, Neymar, Alexis,Tello and Deulofeu. With Cesc or even Thiago having the ability to play false 9 if needed.
You name a perfectly good, strong 26 man squad, but I maybe wrong didn't Tito say he wants a 22 man squad ?
I agree that does seem too small, and it would be hard to get a 22 man squad and if so a few unexpected players will need to be sold.
Been as realistic as I can I see these been the signing, promotions, loans and sales.
Signings - Neymar , Reina , Hummels or Marquinhos
Promotions - Deulofeu, Muniesa and Sergi Roberto and maybe Oier depending On the whole Goalkeepeing saga.
Loans - Cuenca, Muniesa and maybe Roberto and Deulofeu depending on how the season is going.
Sales - Villa ( I like but imo he is off ) Affelay, Fontas, Bojan (although it could be a tough sale in terms of getting 10 million) and Jonathan Dos Santos ( who I also think is good, but the midfield is too strong )
I want a Larsson esc signing If I'm honest, someone quite old who can come on and spark something make he difference and score, however doesn't mind not always playing and isn't too expensive... I've searched for this player for a while but I'm still yet to see the perfect player. There sadly ain't many Henrik Larsson's around.
I also strongly agree about the point you make regarding Xavier Mascherano. We need to utilize him more... Fact !
I know Busi is generally our best CDM. but in the first leg vs European Giants I think sometimes Mascherano or Song could be a better option.
Almost like - Neymar replaces Villa. Hummels/Marquinhos replaces Fontas. Roberto replaces JDS and Deulofeu replaces Affelay and Bojan.
What I believe but not necessarily agree. This is showing if Valdes does leave. The first name indicates main starter!
RB: Alves, Montoya
LB: Alba, Adriano
CB: Pique, Hummels or Marquinhos, Puyol, Bartra ( if desperately needed Mascherano )
CM: Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc (ability to play false 9 too,Thiago, s.Roberto
Forward central: Messi, Cesc. ? the larsson esc signing I talked about ?
Forward Left: Neymar, Tello
Forward Right: Pedro, Alexis.
With deulofeu loaned out or playing little game time on both wings.
I really believe Thiago has a big role next season, and I tip Roberto to impress even more when possible. In my opinion he adds a directness through the middle which we sometimes lack. However his time will come and next season is perhaps too early.
Whatever Guys lets face it the Summer is Exciting.... Don't ever rule Barca out .... sometimes a change is needed for a club. Sir Alex Ferguson is retiring, not in my opinion because he is tired but he sees a strong change a new spark to hold against the growing giants across europe, the noisy neighbours in Man city, Mou on his way maybe to Chelsea, he realises that maybe a new Manager (David Moyes imo) with new ideas and energy is needed to hold against the new challenges, Sir Alex has left a champion and a structure to be tweaked, likewise us !! Vamos Barca!!
This is not the End of an Era ... BUT THE BEGINNING!
Mes Que Un Club.
And thanks To JBeck12 for the great post.