The summer transfer window is shut, and the teams will have to work with their current squads for several months before the winter window comes along in January.
Barcelona did plenty of business in the last two months. Six players came in and 13 were dealt away, a deep renovation of the squad to bring younger players to carry this team into future success.
The club made exciting signings, and the squad is certainly deep, with great options in every position. Which begs the question: is this the best Barcelona squad ever assembled for a season? To answer this questions, five members of the Barça Blaugranes staff got together for a special BB Roundtable. Check out what each of us have to say and then give your own take using the comment section below.
Of course this is theoretical and needs to be treated as such, but I believe it is, and the reason is potential. Every player on the squad has potential to be special if/when they achieve their best. Some of them (like Messi, Suárez, Iniesta, Busquets, Piqué, Alba) are already at the top of their games and will continue to be among the best players in the world for quite some time.
And then there are the guys who are yet to develop into the beasts we all thought they can be (Neymar, Ter Stegen, André Gomes, Paco Alcácer, Samuel Umtiti), along with players who are young and even if don't develop into something special will be solid enough to be important pieces of the side for the years to come (Sergi Roberto, Aleix Vidal, Lucas Digne, Rafinha, Denis Suarez). To have a truly great squad in a football club, you can't have just stars, or just good young players, or just solid players. You need players from all three categories.
Barça has that for this season, and that is why this can be considered the best squad in the history of the club. Again, this is tehoretical and depends on development, minutes and escaping injuries. But if everything goes smoothly, this is a simply spectacular group of players.
Let’s get the disclaimers out of the way first: only time will tell whether this squad will be as successful as the teams that have earned a special place in my heart. Of course, I’m talking about Pep’s first iteration of tiki-taka and perhaps his pièce de résistance, the 2008/09 treble winners, the 1991-92 Dream Team and Rijkaard’s incredible 2005/06 double winners. From 1 to 25, these squads were all stacked with talent – a perfect blend of big names, local legends and world-class potential; but when I look at the current squad, I see all that and more.
The attacking triumvirate is the strongest in the history of the sport, and even then we have somehow obtained top tier internationals to serve as back-ups, setting a trend that’s continued across the rest of the team. There’s a unique balance about it all as well: youth and experience, proven talent and potential, even something as simple as left and right – we look like we’ve got it right across the board.
Even if it doesn’t deliver immediate success, it provides the club with a remarkable foundation for the future and one that could prove capable of dominating the club scene for years to come. So in answer to the question, could this be the best squad in Barça history? Absolutely, yes.
It's hard to answer this after just two games - both of which were played before the last two signings, Cillessen and Alcacer dressed for the first time. That being said, the potential is there, with Messi, Suarez, Pique and Rakitić in their prime, and several others on the cusp of their prime. The goalkeeping duo of last season was better and the right-back situation has certainly seen better days, but neither position should cause fans much worry. The depth at center back is best in years, as is at left-back. The midfield was a concern since the retirement of Xavi, and the starting trio probably still shouldn't be compared to the majestic trio of Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets, but this is a strength by committee midfield. The attack was deadly last season and it should only get better this season with a resurrected Arda and the addition of Alcacer.
All in all, the makings of the best ever Barcelona team are there. Some areas are weaker than there were in the past, but the sum of its parts is enormous. But for any team to be in contention for the best ever squad there have to be titles at the end of the season - probably more than one. And if that does happen, they just could be the best ever.
Barcelona’s current 2016-17 squad is definitely the deepest squad in the Catalan club’s rich history, but whether or not it is the best one is yet to be season. On paper, it’s filled with incredible talent that makes it hard to say “no” to the query, but I do feel that despite the profoundness of our midfield, it is somewhat excessively front-heavy.
Several midfielders – Arda, Denis, Rafinha – are more attacking minded and have shown better promise up front than in central areas. There may be a slight imbalance overall, which could just reduce the consistency of this team compared to, say, the 2010-11 side under Pep Guardiola, which in my opinion was the greatest football side ever.
Of course, this is merely an obiter dictum, and not something I truly worry about in an unequivocal sense. It may give us slight trouble playing the attractive, free-flowing football we experienced when the Holy Trinity dominated the center of the park for Barca, but without doubt this current squad is an incredible assembled unit and has the ability to win big.
Hopefully in addition to some sensational football, we get to see accumulation of major trophies to compliment this wonderful team.
I have to admit that there is a little hesitance in answering this question with a "yes". The past few seasons in the club's history have been some of the best in world football. And as such, we have managed to create some fantastic squads. The most obvious ones that come to mind are the 08/09 and 09/10 Barça squads. These squads had a healthy mix of superstars and academy players. When you consider the kind of football Barça were playing, those squads were some of the best in modern-day football.
However, this squad has probably the strongest strike force ever and while I give the midfield from 08/09 season the edge, this squad is simply better. Almost every one of the 22-man squad is a potential starter for the club, and that is as exciting as it gets. Add to this, the mind boggling talent in the starting XI, and the answer gets easier than before. Once we move past the sentimental aspect of our previous squads (and ignore the glaring issue at RB in the current one) there is little doubt that this is the best squad that Barça has ever managed to assemble.