Ernesto Valverde has announced his first official squad of his Barça reign ahead of tonight’s game against Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup. The manager’s plans can be seen not just in the players he has called up but in those he has left out as well.
Five of the players who were not selected are particularly noteworthy as they are match fit and their absence is purely down to the manager’s decision. The five are Arda Turan, Sergi Samper, Munir, Douglas and Marlon.
The Turkish international is not in Valverde’s plans and already has a foot and a half out of the Camp Nou. Sergi Samper has to continue working hard during the week and wait for his chance. Similarly, the manager does not seem to be keen on Munir and an exit seems likely. Semedo is clearly ahead of Douglas in the pecking order and, in the case of Marlon, his absence should be seen in view of the fact that Valverde has requested a new centre back (Íñigo Martínez).
The message sent to the sporting directors is clear: the squad needs urgent improvement and, above all, it is vital that Barça have more strength in depth ahead of a long and demanding season.