The upper hierarchy of Barcelona has made one thing absolutely clear ahead of the upcoming January transfer window: there will have to be exits during the winter if the Catalans are to recover and sign any new players themselves.
At the moment, Ronald Koeman already has a couple of players in mind who don’t exactly fit into his plans but according to the latest report from SPORT, both Riqui Puig and Carles Aleña are on their way out of Barcelona too.
It’s still important to note that only a loan deal will be considered. This is due to the fact that the Azulgranas believe both players have a big future at Barça, regardless of their current situation, which is far from ideal.
Koeman believes the midfield area is well covered with the personnel they have so the two youngsters are, unfortunately, surplus to requirement. The good news is that it won’t be an issue finding them good clubs to play for.
Their talent is already well known in Spain and beyond and Barcelona are looking for the best possible option for their La Masia gems. For the moment, we still don’t know where they could go but we do know it won’t be on a permanent transfer.
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 Antoine Griezmann starts on the bench, as well, and has been replaced by Martin Braithwaite.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.