Barcelona Need More Than Just a New Centre-Back to Become Competitive Again

Lionel Messi
Barcelona have relied on Lionel Messi for too long | Pool/Getty Images

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Friday’s Champions League quarter-final defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich went about as bad as it possibly could have for Barcelona. Not only were they beaten, but they were utterly humiliated for 90 gruelling minutes. Never before have they lost a European game by a scoreline as bad as 8-2.

Every shortcoming which fans have highlighted in Barcelona’s game this year was on show, and now there will be real questions asked about how Barça recover from this.

The problem is that it doesn’t seem as though Barcelona have any idea how to do that.

Nobody at Camp Nou will deny that something needs to change with Barcelona, but if you look at their transfer strategy, it seems as though the focus is on splashing out on yet another attacker – Lautaro Martínez. Why?

Yes, Luis Súarez is getting old and will need replacing at some point, but that simply cannot be the priority now. The defence needs fixing and the midfield is in dire need of some rejuvenation.

Bayern completely tore Barça apart all evening, looking like vultures picking away at the corpse of a dying animal, and there was nothing anybody could do to stop them. In midfield, Sergio Busquets looked like he should have retired ten years ago, Frenkie de Jong looked like an awkward fit in the team and Sergi Roberto looked like he should probably stick to being a backup right-back.

Serge Gnabry, Sergio Busquets
Busquets offered nothing at the back | Pool/Getty Images

What have Barcelona done to ‘improve’? Sold the young Arthur and replaced him with the deteriorating Miralem Pjanić. Why? Oh, because the board put themselves in a disastrous financial position.

In defence, Gerard Piqué and Clement Lenglet lacked control and leadership. Jordi Alba looked like he’d forgotten how to play football. Nélson Semedo couldn’t get anywhere close to Thomas Müller, Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka, who waltzed through Barcelona’s back line without even trying.

What are Barcelona doing about that? Focusing their efforts on signing Manchester City’s Eric García, who has a grand total of 22 senior appearances to his name. Why?

This squad is crying out for significant investment, but Barcelona have missed the chance to do that. Sure, they couldn’t have predicted the coronavirus outbreak or the financial impact that would have, but it’s their fault for not addressing things sooner.

Eric Garcia
Eric Garcia is not going to fix things | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

For too long, the focus has blindly been on the attack. Philippe Coutinho wasn’t needed. Antoine Griezmann definitely wasn’t needed. You can’t just bank on scoring 1,000 goals a game and forgetting that the rest of the pitch exists.

It’s time for the Barça board to wake up. Well, it was time to wake up about four years ago. It’s too late now. From top to bottom at Camp Nou, a whole lot needs to change.

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