Los Blaugranes are currently favourites for the La Liga title according to the latest FC Barcelona betting odds but will be concerned as to how their pre-season is shaping up following defeat to Liverpool last weekend.
During this year’s transfer window, Barcelona have, so far, spent about €80 million on four new first team players — Andre Gomes, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Digne and Denis Suarez.
On the other hand, around €15m has been recovered with undesirable senior squad individuals including Marc Bartra, Thomas Vermaelen, Adriano Correia and Sandro Ramirez having been proceeded onward.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of the Sampdoria clash, the Blaugrana coach said that the squad had been strengthened and the new players now had to prove they were worth a starting place.
“We have reinforced the squad brilliantly,” Luis Enrique said. “On paper, I have the best squad in my three years here [as coach]. All the new players have settled in well. They have quality and will have to compete for a place.”
The clearest hole in Barca’s squad is currently at right-back, where Dani Alves has left for Juventus following eight years as a regular, and no substitution accessible. Ex-Sevilla winger Aleix Vidal has begun each of Barca’s three preseason matches so far in the position, including the 0-4 thrashing to Liverpool a weekend ago, while midfielder Sergi Roberto has additionally filled in there, and Luis Enrique said he was content with these choices.
“There have been only a few preseason games so far,” he said. “With Sergi Roberto and Aleix Vidal the position is well covered. Then we will see how they perform.”
No move has been made on Barca’s journey for a third forward to move down starters Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar over the season.
Luis Enrique said, “While the window remains open, we are ready to strengthen our squad,” he said. “That is the intelligent way to look at things. If we can improve what we have, we move forward.”
Neymar is presently confronting critics back home, subsequent to frustrating 0-0 attracts Brazil’s opening Olympic football competition matches against South Africa and Iraq abandon them near another way out on home soil.
“I’ve not seen any of the games,” Luis Enrique said. “We all know that football is a collective sport and we all must balance praise and criticism, although it becomes personalised. I wish luck to [Neymar] and to [Blaugrana midfielder] Rafinha.”
Barca look well equipped for the upcoming season and with their latest recruitments, they could be a formidable side to face in European competition this year.