How Our 2011-12 Squad Is Shaping Up

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Post by messixaviesta Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:31 pm

I have been following football news very intently during the last few days on Goal.com, at this forum and on Twitter. Based on all that I have understood, after using my past experience in following transfer windows to separate out fact from fiction as far as possible, this is how I think our final squad for the next season will look like. The jersey numbers that are unlikely to change are given in square brackets at the end.


1. Victor Valdes (Spain) [1]
2. Jose Manuel Pinto (Spain) [13]
3. Adriano (Brazil) [21]
4. Jose Angel (Spain)
5. Carles Puyol (Spain) [5]
6. Gerard Pique (Spain) [3]
7. Eric Abidal (France) [22]
8. Andreu Fontas (Spain)
9. Dani Alves (Brazil) [2]
10. Martin Montoya (Spain)
11. Sergio Busquets (Spain) [16]
12. Javier Mascherano (Argentina) [14]
13. Seydou Keita (Mali) [15]
14. Xavi (Spain) [6]
15. Andres Iniesta (Spain) [8]
16. Cesc Fabregas (Spain)
17. Thiago Alcantara (Spain)
18. Lionel Messi (Argentina) [10]
19. Pedro (Spain) [17]
20. David Villa (Spain) [7]
21. Alexis Sanchez (Chile)
22. Ibrahim Afellay (Netherlands) [20]
23. Jonathan Soriano (Spain)


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Post by Khaled Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:26 pm

i guess so.. but i hope Cesc stays @ Arsenal @ least for one more season!
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Post by Albiceleste Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:06 pm

I thought Soriano was on his way out?

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Post by billy_gr Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:40 pm

Just a quick replay to say hello to all the old gang.
Good to see most of the old forum posters here.

one comment regarding the roster (as it seems to be shaping):
I am more than fine with Cesc and here's my reasons:

a. there are only a handful of CBs I'd like more than Cesc. Thiago Silva, Company, Luiz etc. and realistically none of them would be easily dismissed. So instead of a "mid-tier" CB we have one of the best CMs in the world.

b. Xavi had a good season last year but it's highly unlikely to continue like this in 2011-2012 campaign.

c. yes thiago is out there but having him AND cesc in the team allows versatile formations and more "plan B options". things that we could not have with Keit as much as I love the guy

d. yep, less Keita... there are no teams out there who can substitute xavi for fabregas and iniesta for thiago in the same game.

e. Finally first 11 competition can only improve our players even when their names are Xavi and Iniesta.

All in all I too would have preferred a WC CB but guys, let's not cry about the Fabregas thing.
------------------------------------------

As for Sanchez, I'm all in. Way better than Jefren and certainly better than last year's demoralized Bojan
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Post by Great Leader Sprucenuce Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:43 pm

messixaviesta wrote:I have been following football news very intently during the last few days on Goal.com, at this forum and on Twitter. Based on all that I have understood, after using my past experience in following transfer windows to separate out fact from fiction as far as possible, this is how I think our final squad for the next season will look like. The jersey numbers that are unlikely to change are given in square brackets at the end.


1. Victor Valdes (Spain) [1]
2. Jose Manuel Pinto (Spain) [13]
3. Adriano (Brazil) [21]
4. Jose Angel (Spain)
5. Carles Puyol (Spain) [5]
6. Gerard Pique (Spain) [3]
7. Eric Abidal (France) [22]
8. Andreu Fontas (Spain)
9. Dani Alves (Brazil) [2]
10. Martin Montoya (Spain)
11. Sergio Busquets (Spain) [16]
12. Javier Mascherano (Argentina) [14]
13. Seydou Keita (Mali) [15]
14. Xavi (Spain) [6]
15. Andres Iniesta (Spain) [8]
16. Cesc Fabregas (Spain)
17. Thiago Alcantara (Spain)
18. Lionel Messi (Argentina) [10]
19. Pedro (Spain) [17]
20. David Villa (Spain) [7]
21. Alexis Sanchez (Chile)
22. Ibrahim Afellay (Netherlands) [20]
23. Jonathan Soriano (Spain)


I would be happier if Barca signed Sanchez and Alex(Chelsea) or Bruno Alves and did'nt sign Cesc and Angel( as i dont believe either is needed)

Other than that it's how i would expect it to go.
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Post by messixaviesta Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:48 am

Thanks for all the wonderful replies friends.

lm, there are contradictory reports about Soriano. He could leave but if we sell both Bojan and Jeffren as seems likely then he could be promoted. Let's see it this way. Bojan is almost sure to go as the deal is nearly done and they are only waiting for Barca to wrap up A.Sanchez first. Do you think we can keep Jeffren? My guess is that with A.Sanchez and Afellay here, Pep may not want Jeffren but rather want more of a target man. I don't know anything much about Soriano but is he a target man type player. Also is there anyone else in the youth that you could see promoted instead? I hope that at least one youth forward is promoted because six is a nice number to have for three positions and there is no point spending money buying one more forward player.

billy, great to hear from you. Yes that may be one reason why we are not chasing CBs. We only want to buy top quality players and at the moment hardly anyone who could fit into our system as per our think tank is available. Also the past experience with buying CBs isn't healthy and hence the idea may be to use and develop our own as far as possible. Moreover I think Pep has his own theory for backups. With Jose Angel close to being signed Abidal might be converted to a full time CB which I think is fine given how well he played last season. With his advancing years LB is a more demanding role. Now for the fourth CB we will use Mascherano at times given that he did well last season and also see how much Fontas is developing. Considering all that it doesn't seem too bad. What happened last season was that Puyol, Abidal and G.Milito were all unavailable at the same time. Besides G.Milito was playing poorly. Hope this group of five CBs will address both those problems to some extent.

Yes mole we could try signing the likes of Alex, B.Alves, Lucio or Agger to name just a few but somehow there hasn't been any interest. The Fabregas deal is very close to completion. You all know well I have not been in favor of it. However I will say two things here. One is that given what Pep has done for us in the last three years I don't mind giving him complete leeway for some time even if it results in a mess. I will respectfully accept whatever he does as far as possible. Fabregas and A.Sanchez are quite clearly his top two handpicks. If Rossell is getting him both then Pep cannot claim to have any kind of problems with the present administration who are then clearly giving him complete freedom to do his job as he pleases. This in turn could convince him to stay for longer. Secondly if Fabregas is to become our player let's start giving up on the negativity and treat him like any other new arrival.

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Post by windkick Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:31 am

You can bet Cesc will wear 4 just like Pep did


Last edited by windkick on Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by windkick Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:33 am

Honestly we have Affelay and Jefferen, I think what we need is a secondary striker. Messi plays a false 9, but it would be nice if when he gets tired and subbed, that we brought in a true striker (we could move Villa over). But what if Villa is injured and Messi is tired? Who would be the striker? Not sure how I feel about anybody else being a false 9 besides Messi to be honest (cause no one else is on Messi's level and will draw attention like he does)

We pretty much have a bunch of wingers and Villa and Villa plays as a winger. Just saying if we had a back up (Soriano would be great, he's put in his time and it's not like we would be able to afford one any way after spending money on Sanchez and Cesc)
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:36 am

Sweet billy's here, welcome man! Very Happy
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:39 am

Anyways I disagree that Xavi's next season is bound to be worse than this one. In my eyes, this season Xavi was plagued with fatigue which caused it to be relatively weak by his standards. With a 3 month break in between I really expect him to come back and have an even better season than 10/11.
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Post by billy_gr Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:42 am

I think the philosophy in the front is each one of the 3 forwards to be able to play in all 3 positions.
Apparently Villa and Messi could share the central position with Sanchez, Pedro Affelay (and Villa again) rotating on the wings.

In the extreme scenario that extra assistance is required Dolfeau could be brought for a game or two.
Things seem really balanced for me overall.

By the way is Nolito’s imminent departure confirmed?
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Post by billy_gr Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:48 am

Hey Alfred. Good to see you guys as well!
It’s true that without a World cup our European players will most probably appear fresher than last season (which makes me think how will our Latin Americans will show up), however Xavi is close to 32 and I believe that he would need more rest compared to this season and having Csec to “compensate” for that will prove invaluable IMO
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:54 am

Thiago can step up when needed, though. Pedro exploded under Guardiola at 21, Busquets at 20. Given this precedent, I think this season Thiago will explode under Guardiola. I'm absolutely confident that Thiago will start over 15 matches and play in about 40 this season, if Cesc doesn't come.


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Post by billy_gr Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:12 am

I’m positive Thiago will get his share of playing time and will be significantly more than last season.
It’s just my gut feeling but I don’t think Cesc will hinder him. Pep could shuffle the deck in other ways having both of them in the roster, like having Iniesta on the wings occasionally.
Plus as great as Thiago is there will be games where our subs will have to have a certain amount of experience in addition to their talent to elevate the game, and Cesc brings this as well.
The only one I see playing less this season is Keita.

Let’s wait and see
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Post by BarcaKizz Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:03 am

I'm not sure about Soriano, and there's actually been very little rumours surrounding Maxwell and Milito. I'm sure Milito will be released, but I'm not sure about Maxwell. There have been rumours that Angel will be part of Barca B in his first year, but I can't really see there being much point in him doing that. I'm not 100% sure Angel will sign tbh. So we will see.

Interesting that if Keita stays he'll probably get virtually no starts. An excellent impact player, but I hope Pep will start Fab and Thiago more as they fit our starting philosophy. Pep should make this clear to Keita, and if he isn't happy with it, then he should go. I think he'll be happy though, and will stay.

Something I'd like to point out is that I think Fabregas can play as a false 9 if needed, so he's not only competing with Iniesta and Xavi. Messi won't play every game, Sanchez and Fabregas can also slot in the centre then, probably Fab doing it more. Iniesta and Afellay did this a few times last year, but Afellay hasn't quite come to grips with it yet, and I don't really like Iniesta in those forward positions.

Considering Cesc may actually happen this time, I'm going to be upbeat about all this. We're going to have an awesome squad with good depth at least. However, like I always say, no one is our player until they sign for us.

Here's my depth analysis:

* (of Barca B)

GK: Valdes, Pinto (Andrada?/Mino)

RB: Alves, (Montoya), Adriano

RCB: Pique, Mascherano, (Bartra)
LCB: Puyol, Abidal, Fontas, (Muniesa)

LB: Abidal, Adriano, Maxwell?/(Angel?)

DM: Busquets, Mascherano

CM: Xavi, Thiago, (Roberto)
CM: Iniesta, Fabregas, Keita

F9: Messi, Fabregas, A. Sanchez

RF: Pedro, A. Sanchez, (Kiko)
LF: Villa, Afellay


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Post by messixaviesta Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:06 am

windkick wrote:You can bet Cesc will wear 4 just like Pep did

Yes I have heard that before as well.

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Post by messixaviesta Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:08 am

BarrileteCosmico wrote:Anyways I disagree that Xavi's next season is bound to be worse than this one. In my eyes, this season Xavi was plagued with fatigue which caused it to be relatively weak by his standards. With a 3 month break in between I really expect him to come back and have an even better season than 10/11.

Yes I will agree with that.


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Post by messixaviesta Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:11 am

BarrileteCosmico wrote: Pedro exploded under Guardiola at 21, Busquets at 20. Given this precedent, I think this season Thiago will explode under Guardiola.

Can I say Thiago has already become a bigger sensation than Busquets or Pedro were? They didn't have as many clubs running after them. People took time to appreciate their potential while in Thiago's case it's all happened in no time.

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Post by messixaviesta Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:16 am

billy_gr wrote:
In the extreme scenario that extra assistance is required Dolfeau could be brought for a game or two.
Things seem really balanced for me overall.

By the way is Nolito’s imminent departure confirmed?

Maybe then instead of Soriano, Delofeu will be promoted. I can't remember reading anything about that though.

Yes Nolito has moved to Benfica.

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Post by messixaviesta Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:28 am

BarcaKizz wrote:I'm not sure about Soriano, and there's actually been very little rumours surrounding Maxwell and Milito. I'm sure Milito will be released, but I'm not sure about Maxwell. There have been rumours that Angel will be part of Barca B in his first year, but I can't really see there being much point in him doing that. I'm not 100% sure Angel will sign tbh. So we will see.

Interesting that if Keita stays he'll probably get virtually no starts. An excellent impact player, but I hope Pep will start Fab and Thiago more as they fit our starting philosophy. Pep should make this clear to Keita, and if he isn't happy with it, then he should go. I think he'll be happy though, and will stay.

Something I'd like to point out is that I think Fabregas can play as a false 9 if needed, so he's not only competing with Iniesta and Xavi. Messi won't play every game, Sanchez and Fabregas can also slot in the centre then, probably Fab doing it more. Iniesta and Afellay did this a few times last year, but Afellay hasn't quite come to grips with it yet, and I don't really like Iniesta in those forward positions.

Considering Cesc may actually happen this time, I'm going to be upbeat about all this. We're going to have an awesome squad with good depth at least. However, like I always say, no one is our player until they sign for us.

Here's my depth analysis:

* (of Barca B)

GK: Valdes, Pinto (Andrada?/Mino)

RB: Alves, (Montoya), Adriano

RCB: Pique, Mascherano, (Bartra)
LCB: Puyol, Abidal, Fontas, (Muniesa)

LB: Abidal, Adriano, Maxwell?/(Angel?)

DM: Busquets, Mascherano

CM: Xavi, Thiago, (Roberto)
CM: Iniesta, Fabregas, Keita

F9: Messi, Fabregas, A. Sanchez

RF: Pedro, A. Sanchez, (Kiko)
LF: Villa, Afellay


Soriano - not sure but there are some rumors. I would like and expect one promotion if both Bojan and Jeffren leave.

Maxwell - I think he has to leave. We clearly don't trust him defensively. We don't need three left backs or four for that matter if we include Abidal. So J.Angel signing should automatically mean a departure for him. If all that was already not enough his agent is our old enemy.

G.Milito - Was thinking about it last night specially recalling the parallels with Marquez in 2010. G.Milito by all accounts has been worse this season than Marquez ever was. Marquez then had a good WC 2010. Now assume that G.Milito has a good Copa 2011. Marquez was still let go in spite of being a club stalwart. G.Milito is not a stalwart. All signs point to him leaving and only the Copa is delaying it.

J.Angel - Very likely to sign because we are pushing for him and the price difference is minor. He could go to B team but I doubt that. He can be Adriano's understudy for left back. If he is by chance not able to step up we of course have Abidal to play that role part time.

Fabregas as false number 9? Interesting suggestion but I don't like it. That position is meant for a forward. So no Fabregas or Iniesta there. Also as dani repeatedly says no Iniesta on the wings. We will have at least five forwards. Why not use them properly?

Your squad list is fine but you haven't indicated who all out of the B team will be promoted. I have instead tried to make a list of the A team only as I can predict it.

Andrada - No recent news. I doubt that we may have given up on that. Pep likes only two goal keepers in the squad. So maybe one more season for Pinto and next summer we will evaluate how far Mino and/or Oier have progressed.

Kiko will definitely join the B team. It's been written everywhere. That's why I didn't include him in my list.

BTW Abidal can still be first choice left back but only when both Puyol and Pique are fit. However maybe Pep will trust Mascherano a lot as CB even though some of us don't like that. So if that happens Abidal may still be first choice LB. It will become clear based on where J.Angel is put. If he is put in B team, Abidal is still meant to be LB. If he is put in A team, Abidal is now to almost pure CB. That's what I am speculating at the moment. No matter what Abidal will have to deputise as CB given that we are just not pursuing any CBs in the market.





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Post by billy_gr Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:29 am

If I’m not mistaken Soriano is already 25 yo.
Sooner or later he will be sold.

And Delofeu is still young t be promoted (18 yo ?).
Still I don’t see any problem with Villa, Messi, Pedro, Sanchez, Affelay and Iniesta (when Cesc or Thaigo cover him) playing forward


thanks for the nolito info
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Post by messixaviesta Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:39 am

billy_gr wrote:If I’m not mistaken Soriano is already 25 yo.
Sooner or later he will be sold.

And Delofeu is still young t be promoted (18 yo ?).
Still I don’t see any problem with Villa, Messi, Pedro, Sanchez, Affelay and Iniesta (when Cesc or Thaigo cover him) playing forward

thanks for the nolito info

You are welcome.

Yes Soriano's age confuses me as well but the rumors are quite strong. Anyway there have been a few late bloomers in football.

You are probably right about Delofeu.

I hope Iniesta is not used in forward positions much but otherwise I agree.


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Post by billy_gr Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:51 am

I prefer him in the midfield as well mainly because his interlink with Xavi is out of this world. However if required, he has all it takes (speed, dribble, passing) to do some damage on the wings as well.
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Post by messixaviesta Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:14 am

billy_gr wrote:I prefer him in the midfield as well mainly because his interlink with Xavi is out of this world. However if required, he has all it takes (speed, dribble, passing) to do some damage on the wings as well.

Not just because of the interlink but it's about what a player mentally is. He thinks like a midfielder and not like a forward.

As I have said before that I do think he can play there but it's not the best situation. He has reasonable speed but not the kind of speed players playing on the wings are expected to have. Dribbling of course he is wonderful at but his is not the very direct dribbling of the kind forwards and wingers do. Passing of course as well but his kind of dribbling and passing are even better in midfield.

We discussed this recently that it is easier for him in the wings for Spain because he has more freedom to drop back into midfield which is what he likes. With us Messi is playing as the omnipresent magic man. Hence it's difficult for Iniesta to find enough space or even join in the game enough at times. However with Spain Messi is not there and Iniesta becomes the magic man and kind of enjoys a free role. Therefore it works there better than it works for us. Still his best position is always the midfield because that's what his qualities are suited to and that's what he is like mentally. The telepathic link with Xavi is the cherry on the cake which Spain has never really enjoyed and even less nowadays but Barcelona continue to enjoy as before.

The most important point here is he can play on the wings but why should such a need arise. We will have A.Sanchez and Afellay as backup for the wings. So what can be the reason to play Iniesta there? Sadly it is probably the need to play Fabregas in midfield even with Xavi playing. In other words Fabregas gets a preferential treatment compared to A.Sanchez and Afellay which is not healthy.

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Post by billy_gr Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:21 am

I agree with everything above. As for the treatment let’s wait and see. We don’t know how Pep will use the players.
I think Cesc will play a super-sub roll rather than a first 11 CM with Iniesta on the wings.


As I said Iniesta as a forward would be valid for only exceptional cases
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How Our 2011-12 Squad Is Shaping Up Empty Re: How Our 2011-12 Squad Is Shaping Up

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