Barcelona squad audit: Big transfers are unlikely, so who does Flick have to work with?


Pick up a copy of any of Barcelona’s sports newspapers and you are likely to read transfer rumours about potential signings including Liverpool’s Luis Diaz, Athletic Bilbao’s Nico Williams or the Bayer Leverkusen right-back Jeremie Frimpong.

But the reality is that Barca look set for a summer of austerity in the transfer market given their financial problems. The club have confirmed in meetings with players and their representatives that the squad will be very similar to last season.

One of the reasons the board chose Hansi Flick as Xavi’s replacement was because they saw the German as someone who could get the best out of this current squad, according to Barca sources — who, like all those cited in this article, asked to remain anonymous to protect relationships. That suggests they will not be making many moves in terms of signings.

Selling players is another matter. Barca have a €100million ($107m; £85m) hole in their 2023-24 accounts which means that La Liga won’t let them sign anyone this summer as things stand — or even register current players Vitor Roque or Inigo Martinez. They are open to selling anyone to fix this — apart from those who are considered untouchable such as Lamine Yamal, Gavi, Pedri and Pau Cubarsi.

So how does Flick’s squad look?


Marc-Andre ter Stegen (32 years old, contract expires 2028)

The German will continue to be Barcelona’s first-choice goalkeeper under his former national team manager Flick.

Inaki Pena (25 years old, contract expires 2026)

The Alicante-born keeper will remain Barca’s second-choice. He proved he was a good fit in that position when Ter Stegen was injured last season.

Ter Stegen worked under Flick with the German national team (Federico Gambarini/picture alliance via Getty Images)


Hector Fort (17 years old, contract expires 2026)

Fort made his debut under Xavi in January but will continue to combine playing for Barca Atletic — the club’s reserve side that is full of youth players — with the first team.

A right-back who can play on the left, he is a complete player who the club want to keep. He put in some convincing performances after making the step up last season and right-back is a problem position for Barca.

Jules Kounde (25 years old, contract expires 2027)

Despite not wanting to play there, the Frenchman spent more time at right-back than his preferred centre-back role last term.

If Barca cannot bring in a full-back, he will be expected to continue playing both positions. But Flick has asked for a right-back such as Frimpong, suggesting he may keep Kounde in central defence. He ended the season on a high and will hope to continue that form after the European Championship with France.

Kounde has been playing right-back for France at the Euros (Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

Ronald Araujo (25 years old, contract expires 2026)

Reports have speculated Araujo is the most likely player to be sold given his quality and potential high fee. But sources close to the player say he left for Uruguay’s Copa America campaign without having been informed of any possible sale.

The versatile defender has shown his leadership abilities and was named one of the team’s four captains last year. President Joan Laporta is not planning to cash in on him — but with Barca’s financial situation, you never know.

Andreas Christensen (28 years old, contract expires 2026)

The Dane did not reach the heights of his first season with Barca last term, but he showed versatility in playing as a defensive midfielder and Flick will count on him.

Christensen arrived on a free transfer from Chelsea, however, which means that any fee the club receive for him would be pure profit. Barca have not ruled out selling him if they receive a good offer.

Pau Cubarsi (17 years old, contract expires 2027)

One of the few players who the board see as untouchable. The teenager has become an undisputed starter since making his debut in January, putting in a man-of-the-match performance against Napoli in the Champions League and more than holding his own against Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes.

Last season was a breakout campaign for Cubarsi (Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Inigo Martinez (33 years old, contract expires 2025)

One of the Barca players who is not registered with La Liga — meaning he will not be able to play unless the club find a solution.

The Spaniard’s future is uncertain given Araujo does not appear set for a move. Barca have plenty of centre-backs and he would be the easiest for the club to get rid of given he is unregistered. He made just 25 appearances for Xavi’s team last season.

Alejandro Balde (20 years old, contract expires 2028)

Balde agreed to a new deal last year until 2028 with a €1billion release clause, but Barca have been unable to register this given the hole in their accounts. Even so, they are counting on the academy graduate.

The left-back was not as impressive last season as in his debut campaign and suffered a significant hamstring injury, making just 28 appearances. The hope is he can get back to his best under Flick.


Oriol Romeu (32 years old, contract expires 2026)

Sources at Barca take for granted that Romeu will leave. The La Masia-made midifelder was signed from Girona to replace Sergio Busquets, but faded away after Frenkie de Jong was injured in September, bringing an end to a promising partnership.

Romeu looked low on confidence towards the end of the season and he has not fitted in. He could return to Girona after Barca’s sporting director Deco blocked a move for him in the January transfer window.

Ilkay Gundogan (33 years old, contract expires 2025)

Barca do not want to sell the Germany midfielder, but he is not considered untouchable. If a club were to make a good offer, the club would consider selling him.

It is still unclear how Flick’s side will set up and Gundogan’s position could be very different depending on whether they bring in a defensive midfielder. If they do, he is likely to be used closer to the opposition box. If not, he may have to be used in a deeper role, which he did not enjoy last term.

Frenkie de Jong (27 years old, contract expires 2026)

Barca would like to sell De Jong for a fee given he would be one of the most attractive players for other clubs, but the Dutchman wants to stay and is under contract for the next two years.

It is well-known that the club tried to sell him to Manchester United two years ago, but he didn’t want to leave. He is happy at Barcelona and is not contemplating leaving — even if he has not offered the kind of performances expected of him and has yet to find his ideal position.

Pedri is impressing at the Euros with Spain (Getty Images)

Pedri (21 years old, contract expires 2026)

He finished the season in good shape after another campaign where he spent large periods out injured. He is finding his feet at the European Championship with Spain, where he appears more and more comfortable in Luis de la Fuente’s side. He is another player who the club consider untouchable.

Fermin Lopez (21 years old, contract expires 2027)

The breakout star of the pre-season trip to the United States last summer, Fermin scored a brilliant goal in a Dallas Clasico after a loan spell with third-tier side Linares and forced himself into Xavi’s plans.

He earned a call-up to the Euros with Spain and scored 11 goals in 43 appearances last season, the best return from a Barca midfielder since Cesc Fabregas in 2013-14. The club have told him they want to keep him.

Gavi (19 years old, contract expires 2026)

Another one of the players seen as indispensable by the board. Since his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in November, the team have missed his tenacious style and leadership.

The teenager’s recovery is going well and he is expected to slot straight back into the side when he returns, with the hope this will be later this year or January 2025 at the latest. But there is a legal case hanging over his registration — Gavi’s first-team contract is only registered with La Liga because of a temporary injunction achieved in the Spanish courts.


Lamine Yamal (16 years old, contract expires 2026)

A marquee player who is crucial to Barca’s future. The teenager muscled his way into the starting line-up last season and recently became the youngest player in the history of the Euros — his future at the club is more than guaranteed and he is expected to be one of the team’s leaders despite his age.

Raphinha (27 years old, contract expires 2027)

Yamal’s fine performances relegated Raphinha from his favoured position on the right wing. But the Brazilian worked hard to reinvent himself as a left winger and even as an advanced midfielder, with a standout performance from the left in the Champions League quarter-final first leg against PSG. Barca wanted to cash in on him this summer but he is determined to stay.

Ferran Torres (24 years old, contract expires 2027)

One of the players who the club do not rule out selling but who wants to stay. The Spaniard was inconsistent last season but sources close to the player have told The Athletic that Flick likes Torres — and that he gave up playing in the Paris Olympics to try and win the German’s trust in preseason.

Robert Lewandowski (35 years old, contract expires 2026)

The Polish striker will continue to be an important player, despite his costly salary. Lewandowski will receive €32m — his highest yearly salary yet — a promise made by the board after he initially accepted a lower wage following his move from Bayern Munich.

Laporta wants Flick to use him more than Xavi did — one of the main points of disagreement between president and coach last term.

Roque has scored twice in 16 Barca appearances (Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Vitor Roque (19 years old, contract expires 2031)

One of the big unknowns of this summer. His contract was only registered for the second half of the La Liga season after Gavi’s long-term injury, but this has now expired.

Barca made a signficant effort to bring forward his initial €30m signing from Athletico Paranaense in January and boardroom sources think he wasn’t used enough last season. They would like him to have more prominence but before the summer their idea was to loan him to a Spanish club so he could continue his adaptation to European football.

Returning loanees, youth players and more

Barca want to bring back Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo after the pair’s loan spells from Atletico Madrid and Manchester City, but cannot do so because of their excess salary limit.

Captain Sergi Roberto’s contract expires on June 30. The Athletic has reported he is negotiating with other clubs — he is keen to stay but is open to an exit, as his camp have not appreciated the way Barca have dealt with negotiations to keep him.

Seven players will return after loans last term. Ansu Fati feels like a forgotten man after his unsuccessful spell at Brighton, but his contract runs until 2027 and the club are not ruling out sending him on another loan or including him in a player swap deal.

Sergino Dest is not in the plans for next season after his time at PSV Eindhoven was cut short by a serious knee injury in April. Eric Garcia’s chances are more promising after helping Girona qualify for the Champions League for the first time and the U.S.-born Mexican right-back Julian Araujo will be given a chance to convince Flick in pre-season following his loan at Las Palmas.

Barca hope to raise some money by selling left-back Alex Valle, who spent last season at Levante — with offers from several clubs, including from some in the Premier League. Clement Lenglet and midfielder Pablo Torre did not change their standing at Aston Villa and Girona respectively.

They have already reached an agreement in principle to sell the 18-year-old striker Marc Guiu to Chelsea for his €6m release clause. On Thursday, The Athletic reported he was set for his medical at the west London club.

Barca Atletic goalkeeper Ander Astralaga will bolster the first-team squad and their captain and defensive midfielder Marc Casado could become a fixture after signing an extension until 2028 — he will take part in pre-season with Flick’s side but club sources have not ruled out sending him on loan if the German doesn’t see enough.

(Top photo: Getty Images)

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