Ronald Koeman, safe in the knowledge that he will see out at least the second year of his contract at Barcelona, is clear that he wants president Joan Laporta and technical secretary Ramon Planes to put together a team that can compete on all fronts next season.
Laporta has conveyed his confidence in the Dutchman, who wants Barcelona to strengthen in defence, midfield and attack, while he is pushing for names that he was unable to bring in last summer due to economic reasons.
Koeman has been warning all season that this Barcelona squad are not capable of fighting for trophies, yet they find themselves in second position in LaLiga Santander after picking up 37 of the last 39 points available and are in the Copa del Rey final, where they will face Athletic Club.
In any case, the Barcelona boss is ambitious and wants his team to compete for trophies from the off next season, so he wants new additions that will not only strengthen the team but players that will excite the Blaugrana supporters and try to encourage Lionel Messi to stay, something that Koeman hopes will happen.
One area of the squad that Koeman has highlighted is the need to bring in a centre-back, which will be Eric Garcia on a free from Manchester City. He is also keen on signing a complete midfielder, such as Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum, who he requested last summer and is also a free agent on June 30.
Another area where Koeman wants Barcelona to strengthen is at left-back, if possible, while he is also determined to sign a striker to fill the No.9 role that has been vacant since Luis Suarez’s departure. There may also be the need for a backup goalkeeper, depending on what happens with Neto.
As for the forward position, Koeman is convinced that Messi and Ousmane Dembele will stay, with their contracts set to expire this summer and next respectively, but he also has the option of Memphis Depay on the table, as the Lyon captain will be a free agent. And the Dutch coach would absolutely welcome Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, who is Laporta‘s No.1 target.
The president rules
Koeman has made it clear to the board and Laporta that bringing in these reinforcements does not mean he will neglect the academy or the younger players in the dressing room.
In fact, he is looking forward to the return of Ansu Fati, while he is delighted with the displays of Pedri, Ronald Araujo, Oscar Mingueza and Ilaix Moriba. Alex Collado and Konrad de la Fuente are very much in his mind, too.
What Koeman is sure about is that if Barcelona want to try and win the Champions League, the level of the squad needs to rise. It is time to move some players on – Junior Firpo, Martin Braithwaite and Matheus Fernandes to name just three – and wrap up signings.
Laporta will have the final word on the composition of the dressing room, although the intention is to have as much consensus as possible with the head coach. Koeman, at least, hopes so.