Incoming Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman seems to be clear about who wonât fit into his squad next season with or…
MADRID (AP) â With or without Lionel Messi, incoming Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman seems to be clear about who won’t fit into his squad next season.
Among them are some key players from recent years, including Luis SuÃ¡rez, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and Samuel Umtiti.
Neither the club nor the coach have said publicly who is staying and who is leaving, but those four players reportedly have already been told that they are not in Koemanâs plans.
Their departures would certainly be part of the âprofoundâ changes to the first team that the club announced after its season ended with a humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
The rout also raised doubts about what would happen to Messi, who was outspoken about some of the clubâs poor decisions this season. But president Josep Bartomeu and Koeman said they were counting on the Argentina forward to stay. They both admitted, though, that there was a need to revamp an aging squad that left the club without a title for the first time since 2007-08.
The clubâs restructuring began with the firing of coach Quique SetiÃ©n a few days after the loss to Bayern, and new presidential elections were called for March.
Catalan radio station RAC1 said SuÃ¡rez was one of the first to get a call from Koeman saying he wasnât going to be used anymore. The 33-year-old Uruguay striker joined Barcelona from Liverpool in 2014 and helped the Spanish club win a series of titles, including four Spanish leagues, four Copa del Reys and one Champions League. He scored nearly 200 goals in more than 280 appearances with the club.
Among the players touted as possible replacements for SuÃ¡rez were Lyonâs Memphis Depay and Inter Milanâs Lautaro MartÃnez. Already on the team and ready to contribute in attack are Martin Braithwaite and youngster Francisco TrincÃ£o.
Also reportedly getting the call from Koeman was the 32-year-old Rakitic, the Croatia midfielder who also arrived in 2014 after a long stint with Sevilla. Rakitic was a regular starter throughout the years but hadnât been getting as many minutes recently.
Young Dutchman Frenkie de Jong joined the club last year and Barcelona will also be counting on Miralem Pjanic, who was signed from Juventus in a trade involving Arthur.
The 33-year-old Vidal was set to leave after only two years with Barcelona. The Chile midfielder had been playing more often than Rakitic but could also lose space with Pjanicâs arrival.
The fourth player reportedly out was Umtiti, a 26-year-old central defender who has struggled with a series of injuries since joining Barcelona from Lyon in 2016. ClÃ©ment Lenglet had been the regular starter in defense along with captain Gerard PiquÃ©.
The 33-year-old PiquÃ© was the first to call for a major restructuring of the club after the loss to Bayern, saying that if needed he himself would be willing to step aside to help the club.
The youngsters who have already been contributing include Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig, while Carls AleÃ±a is due to return after a loan with Real Betis. Among the youngsters joining the club this season are Pedri, Matheus Fernandes and Gustavo Maia.
The squad changes are expected to help Barcelona financially, as the club was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
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