As Barcelona get down to their pre-season business on the tour of America, so the squad is beginning to take shape.
So far, so good it would seem. The signings of Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski have already added something to the mix.
The re-signing of Ousmane Dembélé is, on the face of it, also good business — if he stays fit and injury free. Big if? Perhaps…
Whatever your personal opinion of Joan Laporta and the way he and his board go about their business, however, he has given Xavi everything he’s asked for to this point.
The players in our midfield and attacking positions would stand up well to any other team in La Liga, and the majority of the teams in Europe now.
It’s far too early to say that ‘Barça are back’ of course, but if they can hit the ground running, they are going to take some stopping in the majority of matches.
Defensively there is still a bit of work to do mind.
It’s already been decided by Xavi and the powers that be that Gerard Piqué’s role won’t be as prominent as it has been in previous years, and how that might affect his form only time will tell.
In theory, the only confirmed starter in the defensive line should be Ronald Araujo.
The Uruguayan came up with some stunning and priceless moments last season, and should be the first name down on the team-sheet now.
If Laporta can also secure Jules Koundé from Sevilla, we might have Europe’s best central defensive partnership in tandem from the get go.
My only concern is the confirmed and continued interest in the likes of Marcos Alonso.
I’m sure he’s a steady enough left-back and may well provide a reasonable level of competition for Jordi Alba but is he good enough?
Frankly, if he can’t get in the Chelsea starting XI, Barça should be concentrating their efforts elsewhere.
César Azpilicueta is a different kettle of fish entirely, and, if secured, could quickly cement himself as the right=back of choice ahead of Sergiño Dest and Sergi Roberto.
Xavi knows he must get his back four spot on, because the team has been leaking goals for a while now.
Do that, and it might just be the successful campaign that Barça are hoping, and justify all the rhetoric from Messrs. Laporta, Alemany et al.