Barcelona are hours away from returning to action as the preparations start for the new season with a massive friendly against Tottenham Hotspur at the Rose Bowl as part of the International Champions Cup tournament in the United States.
And for the first time in this new season, Barça manager Ernesto Valverde spoke to the press and was asked about a lot of different topics. The boss gave his thoughts on Barça’s signings and possible transfers, change of formtations, whether or not Real Madrid losing Cristiano Ronaldo makes it easier for Barça in La Liga, and if winning the Champions League is the big priority in the 2018-19 campaign.
“[On new signings] We are open to other possibilities. We did lose [Paulinho], an important player in the midfield, but we have other players and are also looking at players from the B team.
“[On formation changes] There are players who have yet to arrive. So we have multiple possibilities to explore regarding the system we use. It also depends on the players we have. We are are looking at variations, especially in defence. But there aren’t too many secrets regarding formations.
“[On replacing Iniesta and Paulinho] It doesn’t just depend on me, but also the Club officials who make new signings. Nevertheless, I’m looking for players who can adapt to the ones we already have.
“[On whether Madrid losing Ronaldo makes it easier for Barça] We don’t know. But we have to recognise the kind of player Cristiano was and what he brought to Real Madrid and La Liga. But we lost Andrés [Iniesta].
“We want to win everything. But it’s not easy to play at this Club. We don’t just have to win, but we also have to play well.”
Source: FC Barcelona
It seems pretty clear that Valverde hopes the club is not done with signings, and another midfielder seems to be his priority. The quote about looking at variations in defense when it comes to formation leads me to believe he might use Clément Lenglet as a left-back in certain matches to give him some tactical flexibility, but we’re unlikely to see that in this pre-season tour since there are so many players still in vacation after the World Cup.