Talking Tactics: How new-look Barcelona could line up in 2022-23
Despite their well-documented financial struggles, Barcelona have still been splashing the cash this summer.
With the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen putting pen to paper at the Camp Nou, Xavi’s starting XI is set to look very different.
We assess how the Catalonians may line up in the upcoming campaign.
One place where immediate change seems extremely unlikely is in between the sticks, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen still Barca’s clear No1.
The German did endure some shaky form early in 2021-22 but looked revived under Xavi’s stewardship, putting in performances to leave his boss purring.
Speaking about his stopper last term, Xavi said: "Ter Stegen is very important for me. He is a leader, dominates with the feet and for me is one of the best goalkeepers of the world."
The most notable addition to the Blaugrana backline so far has been ex-Chelsea man Christensen, who has ended a decade-long stint in West London to join the LaLiga outfit.
A reliable figure at Stamford Bridge, the Danish defender brings a wealth of experience to Xavi’s side and will hope to play a leading role in Catalonia having often been on the periphery at his former club.
Who plays next to him is up for debate, with legendary centre-back Gerard Pique suffering an injury-blighted end to last campaign and now in the twilight of his career at 35.
Instead, it may be promising Uruguayan Ronald Araujo who gets the nod.
Araujo, 23, impressed in 25 LaLiga starts last season and will expect to feature frequently, while ex-Manchester City defender Eric Garcia, 21, is another youthful option.
Sergino Dest looks set for a season-long battle with Sergi Roberto at right-back, though that could change if recent reports linking Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta to the club become reality.
Meanwhile, the left of the backline will surely belong to the dependable Jordi Alba.
In the centre of the park, there will be at least one new face with AC Milan star Kessie arriving off the back of lifting the Serie A title last term.
The Ivorian is arguably most comfortable in a deep-lying role but it remains to be seen whether or not he can wrestle that responsibility off club captain Sergio Busquets.
It is likely the two will interchange quite frequently, with Kessie also having the benefit of being comfortable a little further up the pitch too.
Although he will only celebrate his 18th birthday in August, La Masia graduate Gavi is a cast-iron certainty to be in Xavi’s strongest XI.
The wonderkid made 46 appearances for the senior side last term and is already a regular at international level with Spain — he truly does appear a generational talent.
Frenkie De Jong was a pivotal part of the Blaugrana engine room last term but a move to Manchester United still appears a distinct possibility.
Instead, the final spot in Xavi’s midfield trio could open back up for Pedri.
Big things were expected of the 19-year-old last season but his hamstring problems limited him to only 12 LaLiga appearances out of a possible 38. That should improve vastly this term.
It is in attack where Barca have emphatically freshened things up with the acquisitions of Leeds winger Raphinha and Bayern Munich marksman Robert Lewandowski.
The Catalonians have been admirers of Brazilian international Raphinha for some time but looked set to miss out on their man to Arsenal.
Yet a logistical roll of the dice which has allowed them to spend funds despite being in severe debt meant a last-ditch £55million deal was able to be struck last week.
As if that spending was not extravagant enough, a £42.5m agreement to bring prolific Pole Lewandowski to Camp Nou has followed a week later.
At 33, the goal machine is not exactly an asset for the future but his arrival does mean the club once again have one of world football’s deadliest finishers leading their line.
Competition for the remaining starting berth is fierce, with Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati both hugely talented — though it may be Ousmane Dembele who gets the nod more often.
The Frenchman long looked certain to depart this summer but the recent announcement of a new two-year deal suggests Xavi was keen to keep hold of the versatile wide man.
Add in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Memphis Depay and it really is a stacked forward department.