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BARCELONA

Delicate transformation as Barça can't do much until 2021

Delicate transformation as Barça can't do much until 2021

GORKA LEIZA

DIARIO AS

Seven of Barcelona's starters at Anfield are 30 or over and they are their highest earners with long contracts meaning nothing can happen until at least 2021.

Seven of Barcelona's starters at Anfield are over 30. Despite the departures of Dani Alves, Puyol, Xavi and Iniesta, the spine of this team still have 34 titles between them. They are not getting any younger though. Messi, the leader of the team, will turn 32 in the summer, Vidal too and Piqué and Suárez have already turned 32. Rakitic just turned 31 and Busquets turns 31 in July while Jordi Alba isn't far behind after celebrating his 30th recently.

Disasters in Turín, Roma and Anfield have forced Bartomeu to admit that there will be a "deep reflection" but they have very little wiggle room when it comes to salaries. The club have tried to start a trasformation with the signing of Umtiti, Lenglet, Dembélé, Arthur and De Jong but most of the player in the squad on the wrong side of 30 have long contracts and nothing drastic will be done with these legends of the club. The year 2021 will be vital for Barça as this is the year Messi's contract ends and the year of elections at the club.


Read also: De Ligt, Griezmann shape up as paper-over-cracks buys


No massive changes until at least 2021

Of the seven older players in the team on Tuesday, Rakitic, Messi, Suárez and Vidal have contracts until 2021, Piqué has one until 2022 and Busquets and Alba until 2023 and 2024 respectively, Only Vidal and Rakitic seem like likely sales in the summer. All of Bartomeu's decisions have been made with 2021 and the election year in mind. With Valverde too, who recently signed a new deal until 2020 with another option until 2021 in order to bring a level of stability to the club.

After nights like that in Rome and Liverpool, a president "wants to break up everything" as Bartomeu said after the debacle at the Olímpico but Barcelona are built around Messi. The Argentine has been given the best environment with player he feels comfortable with and the project lies on him. Breaking up this ecosystem could result in an imposion. Messi, Busquets and Piqué are the captains and they are the ones who have been there the longest. They make the dressing room bearable as it is filled with egos. If you don't feel comfortable there and are not entirely accepted, life can be impossible.

There might be some slight retouches in the dressing room but Barcelona's big bang will have to wait until at least 2021 when Messi's contract ends.