Five Players Who Need to Leave Barcelona This Summer

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By Gabriel Pessoa/beIN SPORTS

With Barcelona looking to rebuild after a disappointing final stretch to the season, new and old faces alike will be reporting for duty to a locker room nearing maximum occupancy levels.

With opportunities scarce at the Catalan club, here are a few players who, for their own good, should be looking for a fresh start elsewhere.  

 

Philippe Coutinho

Having risen to the status of top dog at Anfield, Philippe Coutinho arrived to Barcelona with high expectations and a $145million price tag to match. 

As the third highest transfer in history, the Brazilian was seen by many as the natural replacement for his national teammate Neymar; at the time, Ousmane Dembele was still a relatively unknown quantity, and an injury-prone one at that.

However, last summer’s World Cup marked a turning point for the 26-year-old’s stature at the club.

After returning from Russia, he no longer seemed himself, as self-doubt crept into his usually carefree game. Shots that once found the top corner with ease would now wind up in row Z. The telepathic on-field understanding he developed with Luis Suarez at Liverpool suddenly looked labored and disjointed, with the pair now playing like strangers. 

The unforgiving nature of the Camp Nou made it even harder for Coutinho to correct his dip in form, and, after a difficult season, his time at Barca has been viewed by many as a bust. In 34 LaLiga matches, Coutinho has produced five goals and two assists. 

At this juncture, it would benefit both parties for him to leave. Having been linked with the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool, the Brazilian has reportedly put in a transfer request to kickstart his career at a new club. 

Although Coutinho's price has depreciated since his record move, Barcelona could reasonably expect to raise around $100million for him in the transfer market. 

 

Ivan Rakitic

Ivan Rakitic has been a core member of FC Barcelona since 2014 when he joined from Sevilla FC. 

One Champions League title, four LaLiga trophies and three Copa Del Rey trophies later, the Croatian’s time at the club has been an unmitigated success by any standard.

But time waits for no man, and Rakitic is no exception. 

The acquisition of Frenkie De Jong has raised questions about how the aging midfielder will fit into Barca’s line up next season. 

Like any self-respecting established player, Rakitic greeted the arrival of the Dutchman with assurances that the 22-year-old would not be taking his spot on the roster. The youngster, living up to his wise-beyond-his-years reputation, struck back by saying that decision was for the manager to make, and reports suggest Ernesto Valverde has already given the green light to sell Rakitic.

Rather than force himself into a situation where he might lose a starting spot to an up-and-comer, Rakitic should call an end to his time at the Camp Nou.

Rakitic looks like he has a couple more seasons of top-tier soccer left in him and with a resume that reads like an invoice from a trophy supplier, would be an attractive proposition for any number of teams. 

In transfer windows past, he was linked with Inter Milan and Manchester United, and could still be well-suited for either of those sleeping giants for roughly $45million.  

 

Samuel Umtiti

After helping guide France to a World Cup title, Samuel Umtiti made just 14 appearances in LaLiga last season. 

While injury was the initial cause for the Frenchman’s prolonged spell on the sidelines, by the time he had recovered from his persistent knee issues, his place in the starting line-up was no longer guaranteed. And with Umtiti unavailable, Valverde stumbled upon a reliable defensive partnership in Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet.

To make matters worse for the 25-year-old, the signing of Jean-Clair Todibo during the winter transfer window has added even more competition for the two center-back spots, one of which is almost certainly reserved for Pique. 

The French stopper has proven to be an elite central defender. It would be a waste for him to remain at Barcelona just to get benched again. Arsenal is reportedly keen to avail of his services, which would cost in the region of $50million. 

 

Denis Suarez

Before leaving for a forgettable loan spell with Arsenal, Denis Suarez racked up a grand total of two appearances in the first half of the 2018/19 LaLiga campaign. Enough said.

Suarez returns from his North London misadventure to a sea of midfielders vying for playing time in the Camp Nou. 

Competing with the likes of Frenkie De Jong, Arturo Vidal, Sergio Busquets and Arthur is a tall order for any player, and one that might be beyond the Spaniard’s relatively limited abilities. 

Valencia and Celta Vigo have been touted as possible destinations for him to rediscover his best form, and his $12million price tag is within both clubs’ modest means. 

 

Malcom

Malcom has always seemed a bit out of place in Barcelona. Ernesto Valverde admitting the winger’s signing was not his decision probably did not help. 

The Brazilian was swept up at the last second just as the entire soccer world was expecting him to sign for Roma. 

Despite showing plenty of potential during his breakout season with Bordeaux, life moved a bit too fast for the Malcom and perhaps moving to a club of Barcelona's stature was a bit premature.

Valverde does not seem to favor him above any of his other options on the wings, as his 15 appearances in LaLiga suggest. 

It would do Malcom well to head somewhere with more room to grow and less pressure to succeed. The lucky club in question would likely have to pay the sum of $45million. 


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