Despite making history in becoming the first Spanish side to win a sixth La Liga and Copa Del Rey double, Barcelona will be looking to build on such success and once again mount a serious Champions League challenge, having lost out to rivals Atletico Madrid last time around. In what will undoubtedly be a telling summer for the Catalan club, the list of arrivals and departures come the end of the transfer window will certainly make for interesting reading. Barcelona will also be looking to become the first team in Spanish history to win three straight doubles, with Athletic and Real Madrid currently equalling Luis Enrique’s current record. So what do Barca need to do to challenge on all fronts next season?
Starting with the goalkeeper situation, the constant rotation of Claudio Bravo and Marc-Andre ter Stegen remains an unresolved issue. Despite Bravo’s apparent willingness to share the responsibility, ter Stegen is seemingly less in favour of such an agreement, and with interest high in the young stopper, Barca must act quickly to keep hold of the former Borussia Monchengladbach man. Ter Stegen has been the preferred number one for the majority of European ties since his arrival at the Camp Nou, and in a competition in which Barca are the 3/1 favourites with bookmakers Coral in the football betting for next season, the German may well wish to fight for his place.
At the opposite end of the field, an alternative to the famous MSN trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar is proving hard to come by, with top players reluctant to play second fiddle to the formidable men. With no world beaters likely to sign, the likes of Celta Vigo’s Nolito, Atletico Madrid’s Luciano Vietto and Antonio Sanabria of Roma have all been linked, with one of these options likely to be lining up at the Camp Nou next season. Having won the 2015 award, Messi will certainly wish to play as many games as possible to add the 2016 Ballon d’or to his collection. The Argentine is 6/4 second favourite with Coral to do just that.
With Dani Alves and Marc Bartra having already departed since the end of the campaign, the arrival of at least one new defender will surely be high on Enrique’s list of priorities. Lyon’s French international Samuel Umtiti is the latest name to be mentioned, with PSG’s Marquinhos and England’s John Stones now looking unlikely.