Barcelona confirmed the appointment of Ernesto Valverde as the new manager of the club, days after Luis Enrique led them to a Copa Del Rey triumph.
Enrique had announced back in March that he will be resigning at the end of the season and Valverde had been tipped as the man to take over the reins from the former AS Roma boss. Last week, the 53-year old Valverde quit his post as the head coach of Athletic Bilbao adding more fuel to the fire and now he has signed a two-year contract with the Catalans with an option to extend for another year.
After a below par 2016/17 campaign which ended with a sole trophy in the form of the Copa Del Rey, Valverde will come in amidst huge expectations to wrestle back the La Liga title from bitter rivals Real Madrid and perform better in Europe as well. With the appointment of the new manager, it is a given that he will bring in new players to build a team to his liking. And that would mean an end of the road for several players in the current Barcelona squad.
Here we compile a list of three players that Valverde could sell in his first transfer window in charge of Barcelona:
The 30-year old Turkish international has found the going tough at Barcelona since his transfer from Atletico Madrid two years back. After spending most of the campaign on the sidelines due to injuries, it might not be a surprise if Valverde looks to offload him in the summer.
Turan did impress when he was fit and available, scoring 13 goals and setting up 7 more across all competitions and as a result, he has a few suitors in the shape of Premier League champions Chelsea and FA Cup winners Arsenal as per reports from El Mundo Deportivo (via Tribal Football). But having failed to carve out a regular place in the Barcelona setup, he is could be on the way out.
The Frenchman is another player who has hardly been able to make a mark since his arrival from Valencia in the summer of 2014. Injuries have hampered him from growing into an important player for Barcelona throughout his tenure and it wasn’t different in the recently concluded campaign as well.
Mathieu just made a total of 16 appearances across all competitions for the Catalans in the season in which he did score a goal. He looked out of pace and was error prone each time he took the field. Having reached 33 now, it is unlikely that Barcelona would want to keep an ageing player who lacks quality. It is almost certain that Valverde would offload him this summer.
The 23-year old Frenchman arrived from Paris Saint-Germain last summer but has failed to settle well in Catalonia. Digne had to play second fiddle to first choice left-back Jordi Alba throughout the season and as a result, he made just 26 appearances across all competitions – only 14 of which have been starts in the league.
When he did play, Digne looked very unconvincing, like he always had a mistake coming right around the corner. There has been some interest in his services from several French clubs and with the new manager coming in, it is unlikely that things could improve for the Frenchman, so his time at the Camp Nou could be up.