After close to a two-month hiatus, Ronald Koeman leads his men back onto the field. It was a bitter-sweet window for the Dutchman, highlighted by clashes of statements with the board.
Despite to cloud of uncertainty that hovered around his future at Camp Nou, Koeman has managed to get a second season under his belt. On Wednesday, he will begin his second chapter at the club.
The first team coach has called up 23 players for the first preseason friendly of the season. The list includes a mix of first-team players, new signings and players of the B team.
Full list: Dest, Piqué, Pjanic, Riqui Puig, Neto, S. Roberto, Umtiti, Iñaki Peña, Arnau Tenas, Collado, Demir, Ramos Mingo, Gavi, Comas, Escobar, Balde, Matheus Pereira, Igor Gomes, Peque Polo, R. Manaj, M. N’diaye, Hiroki, Mortimer.
Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Miralem Pjanic and Sergi Roberto, among others, lead the list to start the game as they did not join up with their respective national teams during the International break.
Ansu Fati, whose recovery has been going well, too has been excluded from the list as the club wish to take no risks with the 18-year-old.
All eyes, however, will be on Yusuf Demir. The new Barcelona B signing is said to have lit up training and caught Koeman’s eye. It will be interesting to see how the youngster fares and integrates with the first team.
Ronald Koeman might continue with last season’s successful 3-5-2 formation. However, it would not be surprising to see the manager opt for a 4-3-3 either. Joan Laporta has made his preference of a 4-3-3 formation well known, and preseason could be the best time for Koeman to try out a new formula.