The winter transfer window is edging ever closer and Barcelona are already planning ahead. If the recent reports from today’s newspaper covers are anything to go by, the Catalans will make a new offer for Eric García.
SPORT are claiming that this time, Barcelona will offer around €8m to persuade Manchester City to budge. Not only that but the club has already gotten the go-ahead from the management committee.
The paper also says that Ronald Koeman has requested the young defender personally as Barça look to strengthen the backline. In addition to that, Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to action with two goals following his battle with COVID-19.
Now, he should be ready to face Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the reverse fixture in the Champions League. SPORT also mention how Lionel Messi is yet to score an open-play goal this season, which is a worrying sign.
Mundo Deportivo take the issue one step further. They talk about refereeing and goals, or rather, the lack thereof.
When it comes to refereeing and VAR, there were crucial decisions against Barcelona in the games vs Sevilla, Getafe, Real Madrid and Alavés. The last of which was the penalty that wasn’t called on Frenkie de Jong.
On top of that, in the last four LaLiga games, the Catalans have only scored three times from a total of 54 shots on goal. Needless to say, that’s another issue to be ironed out by Koeman.
Official: Barcelona starting lineup to face Elche — Koeman makes five changes
Barcelona will be hoping to get back to winning ways as they host Elche at the Camp Nou for the rescheduled round one fixture. Ronald Koeman has heavily rotated his team for this encounter, making five changes to the team that took on Cadiz on the weekend.
The first of these changes comes in the heart of the defence, with Samuel Umtiti coming in to replace Clement Lenglet, starting alongside Gerard Pique. Oscar Mingueza gets a start as well, but it is at right-back instead of Sergino Dest. Jordi Alba retains his spot at the left-back position, while Marc-Andre Ter Stegen holding the gloves.
Sergio Busquets had a fairly decent game against Cadiz, but sees himself on the bench with Miralem Pjanic starting as the anchor. Beside him, Frenkie De Jong and Pedri will be acting as interiors as they have so often this season.
There are two changes in the attack as well, with Fransisco Trincao getting a well-deserved start on the right-wing, replacing Ousmane Dembele. Antoine Griezmann starts on the bench, as well, and has been replaced by Martin Braithwaite. Lionel Messi will spearhead the team hoping to keep his goal-scoring run alive.
Confirmed XI: ter Stegen; Mingueza, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; de Jong, Pjanic, Pedri; Trincao, Messi, Braithwaite
Koeman seems to have played all his cards all at once for this game, replacing every other player on the pitch. While Mingueza truly deserved a place in the XI today, it should have been at centre-half instead of Umtiti, who put in a heart-wrenching display against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey no more than two weeks back.