How Barcelona could line up next season with Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland is the type of flagship transfer that Barcelona crave as the world around them assumes their €1 billion debt makes any type of deal impossible.
And he’s a signing which forces a team to accommodate him, no matter what.
So if we can assume for a moment that Haaland is destined to join the Catalan club in the coming months, how do we think Barcelona will set up next season?
Let’s take a look at the current state of the squad, predict who will be coming and going, and then try and figure it out.
Ronald Koeman has experimented with a back three to good effect, and the emergence of Ronald Araujo and Oscar Mingueza, as well as the expected signing of Eric Garcia on a Bosman, gives them options to play that formation regularly.
But with Jordi Alba and Sergino Dest still solid full-back options, a back four may be fielded more often than not.
Ahead of them Sergio Busquets probably has one more full season left, with Frenkie De Jong having his best run of form since moving to La Liga. It could be a chance for Ilaix Moriba to truly break out into a first-team regular.
Pedri is Barcelona’s future. Up front, we will assume that Messi has been convinced to stay by new president Joan Laporta, and will play off Haaland in attack. Which leaves one spot. Antoine Griezmann probably just holds that position at the moment but his tendency to drift inside could make Barcelona too narrow.
Therefore there could still be a future for Ousmane Dembele. His form has definitely improved in 2021, though he is out of contract next summer and Barca may look to raise funds from his sale.
But much will depend on the fitness of Ansu Fati. He has had a setback in his comeback from injury and it’s unclear at this point when, and how, he will return. That could shape Barca’s future decisions.
There’s no space for Philippe Coutinho, who Barca will look to move on, as they will with Samuel Umtiti. Trincao, Martin Braithwaite, Miralem Pjanic and Riqui Puig will likely deputise from the bench.