The silly season is on and no big club can avoid rumors during this time of the year, FC Barcelona not being an exception. Compared to last summer the Catalans have been quite active this year and when the season starts in August many familiar faces will be missing. Thankfully there will also be some new blood in the form of Brazilian wonderkid Neymar. With a €57m transfer fee there are a high expectations for this young talent.
But so far there have been much more departures than additions:
Eric Abidal was the first one to leave FC Barcelona after the club didn't want to renew his contract. Even though the defender recovered (for a second time) from his tumor the Barcelona medical staff wasn't fully convinced that Abi can produce at such a high level on a consistent basis. While this was an unpopular decision it was an understandable one. The France international found a new workplace in the big spending AS Monaco, where Abidal will be playing for at least one season.
David Villa was the next one to follow his lead out of Barcelona. The all time scorer of the Spanish national team was sold to Atletico Madrid for a ridiculous price of €5,1m. Maybe the striker hasn't been at his best since breaking his tibia and missing most of the 2011-12 season, but he is still a superb player and worth a lot more than what Atletico Madrid paid for him.
The latest first team player to leave is the homegrown talent Thiago Alcantara. The young midfielder was eager to get more playing time and didn't believe that was possible at Camp Nou. With several clubs fighting for his services it was no surprise that Thiago chose to leave. Manchester United seemed to be the closest to getting him, but in the end it was his former coach Josep Guardiola who managed to lure him out of Barcelona and into his new team Bayern Munich. The funny thing is that with a packed midfield at Bayern it will be interesting to see if he'll actually get any more playing time than he would've at Barcelona.
Thiago's little brother Rafinha was quick to follow his sibling's way out of Barcelona. The younger Alcantara brother will be playing at Celta Vigo on loan for one season to gain more experience. Rafinha isn't yet a first team regular and played for Barcelona B last season.
Rafinha's Barcelona B teammate Gerard Deulofeu will also play on a different team next season. This 19-year-old forward has been even branded the new Messi and so naturally many teams would've gladly had him. Everton was the lucky winner in this race and so the young super-talent will spend the next season in Liverpool.
There is still some time before the transfer window closes and Barcelona are expected to make some more changes in the team. There have been rumors of Cesc Fabregas returning to England, either to his former team Arsenal or Manchester United.
Many players have also been linked with a move to Barcelona. Wayne Rooney, Thiago Silva, David Luiz and pretty much every goalkeeper in Europe have all been rumored to be on Barcelona's radar. Only time will tell what is true and not, but in the meantime a Barca fan can only hope for wise decisions.