It has been an interesting summer to say the least in Barcelona.
The Catalan giants must raise serious money before they can afford to sign new signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia, while they also need to get players from the salary budget just so they can re-register Lionel Messi – who is technically a free agent after the end of his contract ..
There is still hope that they will get there, but to raise enough money to cover the costs and lower the current salary sum to fall in line with La Liga’s strict but necessary salary caps must come through player sales, with Antoine Griezmann as the most obvious the victim to do.
Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet, Sergino Dest and Sergi Roberto are others who have been linked to exits. Ousmane Dembele would also be on that list if his latest injury fallback required surgery that excludes him until the end of October.
Departures can create quite a significant group upheaval, which makes Barça look very different. Here is a look at squad numbers that may be available to newcomers.
Sergio Aguero has the chance to join international teammate Lionel Messi / LLUIS GENE / Getty Images
Aguero has been number 10 for most of his club career and has it at Independiente as a 16- and 17-year-old, then at Atletico Madrid and eventually also Manchester City.
He obviously can not have 10 in Barça as it is synonymous with Messi and re-registration of the six-time Ballon d’Or winner takes precedence over any of the new signings.
The only other number Aguero has had during his club career is 16, which he had during his first four years in Manchester. It currently belongs to Pedri at Camp Nou, although it is credible that the teenage prodigy can switch to either six or eight before the new season to follow in the footsteps of Camp Nou legends Xavi or Andres Iniesta.
Aguero has also often used nine at the international level in recent years, which could be a strong alternative in Barça if Martin Braithwaite were persuaded to take another shirt, the vacant 19 perhaps. Alternatively, Aguero has also used 19 for Argentina in the past.
Best Likely Options: 9, 16
Memphis Depay can not carry its No. 10 favorite in Barcelona / Soccrates Images / Getty Images
If Griezmann leaves, and it seems crucial to Barça’s immediate short-term financial health, number seven would be an obvious shirt for Memphis to take over.
He has used it before for the Netherlands, PSV Eindhoven and Manchester United and may consider having unfinished business in it after his incantation against the latter did not live up to expectations.
Like Aguero, Memphis also has a strong connection to number 10 after making the regular jersey at the international level in recent years. For the same reason as Aguero, he will not get it in Barça.
The Dutchman had 11 in Lyon, which is currently busy at the Camp Nou by Dembele, who returns to fitness in the autumn and can still have his own role to play. Another option for Memphis could be 22 if Ansu Fati trades down to a lower number, maybe seven.
Best Likely Options: 7, 22
Eric Garcia is back in Barcelona after four years at Man City / LLUIS GENE / Getty Images
Garcia had 50 for Manchester City, although Barça’s first team player is usually assigned jersey numbers up to a maximum of 24, with higher numbers carried by B-team players being promoted mid-season.
If number six remains available and is not taken by Pedri or any other current player, it could be a likely option for the midfielder to return to his boyfriend’s club.
If Lenglet moves on, 15 would be available, while 16 would be if Pedri gets a new shirt.
Best Likely Options: 6, 15, 16
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