Barcelona coach Luis Enrique isn’t going to be the only high profile departure from the Camp Nou this summer with a number of players also expected to be heading for the exit door.
The Blaugrana will look to overhaul their squad following a disappointing season by their standards – assuming Real Madrid do indeed wrap up the title on Sunday – but first they will need to have to undertake somewhat of a clear-out.
Javier Mascherano is expected to leave the club following seven trophy-laden seasons, as are fellow defenders Thomas Vermaelen and Jérémy Mathieu. It’s fair to say there are a number of other players living on borrowed time in Catalonia.
Here are five of those players that deserve another shot next season.
It’s a tough job being an understudy to the most fearsome attacking trio in world football but Paco Alcácer has done a decent job when he’s had the chance to emerge from the long shadow of Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar.
Since signing in a €30million deal from Valencia last summer, the 23-year-old has made just eight starts in all competitions and totalled just 1,006 minutes of football for the Blaugrana.
The Spaniard started slowly, failing to score in LaLiga until February. But he has since plundered five more goals. Alcácer has also provided two assists in the league and one in the Champions League.
Alcácer is still young and with three goals in his last four starts, has hinted at the promise he could offer Barcelona in the long-term.
Another summer recruit from Valencia, Portugal international André Gomes cost more but has delivered less for Barcelona in his debut season. The midfielder cost €35million with €20million in add-ons but has scored just three goals and provided one assist in 43 appearances.
He has also created just 13 chances in the league – the least of any other Barça midfielder – despite clocking the third most appearances for that position.
He’s certainly been a disappointment under Enrique but he cost the club €35million for a reason and he deserves a chance to show why next term, especially as club icon Andrés Iniesta winds down.
Barcelona are thought to be keen on strengthening the full-back positions this summer after failing to replace Dani Alves when the Brazilian left for Juventus.
Jordi Alba has been with the club since 2012 but the 28-year-old is reportedly a Manchester United transfer target.
Alba has started 20 games for the five-time European champions this season, his lowest number since the 2013/14 season, but he is still unquestionably a quality left-back.
What’s more, Alba offers a lot going forward and only MSN have claimed more assists than the former Valencia man this term.
Attacking midfielder Denis Suárez is another who has been linked with a move to the Premier League and is understood to be a Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal transfer target.
The 23-year-old has a similar problem to Alcácer in that game time is hard to come by in a squad packed full of attacking talent. But Suárez has rarely failed to disappoint when given the opportunity.
The former Villarreal man had to wait until his 17th appearance for his first goal in a Barça shirt, driving a shot hard and low past Eibar’s goalkeeper Yoel Rodríguez from outside of the area.
There’s a lot more to come from this young man at Barcelona – assuming the club give him the chance.
Another attacking midfielder who has been linked with a move away is 24-year-old Brazilian Rafinha.
A versatile graduate from La Masia, Rafinha started the season superbly, scoring four goals in his first five league appearances. But his form has tailed off since, scoring just two more goals in his next 13 appearances before an injury ended his season prematurely in April.
He is still raw but he showed enough in the early weeks of the season to demonstrate plenty of potential and the Catalan giants should seek to give this homegrown talent another chance next season.