Barcelona are stuck in a difficult situation, as the club know they have to move forwards into a new era but they simply don’t have the players to replace valuable veterans.
The respective presences of Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets are a throwback to a bygone era where Barcelona were perennial Champions League contenders, as well as one of the most attractive football teams to watch.
Now they are far from that level, depending on the Europa League to somehow scrape back into the Champions League, but the veterans remain constantly present in the team.
The problem is that these three players aren’t performing to anywhere near the level which they did in their prime, with there being mistakes in virtually every game which are proving costly to the team.
Lack of competition for Alba
Alba hasn’t had competition in his position for a while, with a number of left-backs arriving and leaving without ever leaving a mark on the Catalan.
Lucas Digne and Junior Firpo, for example, have both departed the club unable to unseat Alba.
Frenkie de Jong should have been ready to take over from Busquets right now, but he too has struggled to develop in what is a worsening Blaugrana team.
Furthermore, as one of the highest earners at the club and one of the brightest talents, you can never be too sure if he will be able to be retained.
Xavi Hernandez is trusting those who have brought glory to the club in the past, but they won’t bring any further glory.
It’s fair to have some degree of sympathy for the former Al-Sadd coach as Barcelona don’t have the means to replace all of these players immediately, and it is a further testament to just how poor recruitment was in the Josep Maria Bartomeu era that these players have no replacements already in position.
Dropping them for youth players would create an unnecessary conflict for Xavi, and in addition to that there are question marks over whether any La Masia graduates are good enough to step in right now, with the exceptions of Nico Gonzalez and Gavi.
He simply has to stick with it this term, try and win the Europa League and hope for a fiscal miracle in the summer that will allow him to build around key positions, just like Pep Guardiola did.