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Laporta set for a crunch week at Barcelona

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Some big decisions have to be made

FBL-ESP-BARCELONA-BAR Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona’s season is over which means president Joan Laporta can get to work on a number of key issues that need to be resolved before the start of the 2021-22 campaign.

The president has already offered hope there will be plenty of change this summer. He said last week that he’s ready to start making some big decisions.

“We’ve been working for some time to find the elements that we’ll need to build a very competitive team and win the relevant titles. And starting next week we will start explaining what we will be doing.”

Source | AP News

One of the biggest decisions is who will manage the team next season. Ronald Koeman has already said he wants to continue, but it’s by no means certain he will carry on.

The Dutchman came in during a difficult time and won the Copa del Rey and gave a host of youngsters plenty of game time. However, his record in key fixtures is poor, and there are serious question marks over whether he can deliver more titles next season.

SD Eibar v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

The main problem is there is no outstanding candidate to take over. The Xavi rumors have inevitably returned but subsequently quietened down over the last few days. The Al Sadd coach has also just recently extended his contract which suggests he’s in no rush to come back.

The other pressing issue is Lionel Messi’s future. The captain’s contract is almost up and no extension has been agreed yet. No-one quite knows what he’ll do but there are a few signs that suggest he will stay on.

The rumored arrival of good mate Sergio Aguero, the captain’s recent comments about the Copa del Rey being a ‘turning point,’ and the fact he didn’t feature against Eibar. Surely, after everything he can’t leave Barcelona like that?

Messi is not the only player whose future is in doubt. Ousmane Dembele is another big issue with the Frenchman out of contract next year, Sergi Roberto is in the same boat but seemingly now very much on the for sale list.

Roberto will be joined by a host of other players such as Samuel Umtiti, Junior Firpo, Philippe Coutinho, and Miralem Pjanic to name just a few. There’s also poor old Matheus Fernandes, who never did get officially presented, and also hasn’t managed a single minute in La Liga this season.

FBL-EUR-C1-DYNAMO KIEV-BARCELONA Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

And then there’s the ‘sacred cows’ such as Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, and Gerard Pique as well as Antoine Griezmann. If Laporta is true to his word that “a cycle has ended” then there could be some emotional exits over the next few weeks.

Laporta will also look to strengthen the summer which is a tough ask given the club’s enormous debts. There’s been talk of big-money buys but it’s more likely Barca will bring in free agents. Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero look certainties but who else will follow?

The Barcelona president has said pretty much all the right things since returning in March and taking over from Josep Maria Bartomeu. Now is the time for the president to put his words into action in what promises to be another intriguing summer at the Camp Nou.