Guardiola casts his eye over squad
In a press conference that lasted more than an hour at the Nou Camp this morning, Pep Guardiola agave an exhaustive overview of his squad, admitting that it’s in midfield that: “we may be missing a piece”.
It’s been two months and two days since the boss last faced the media, on May 17th, and his
first words this morning were to welcome the press back, telling them: “it’s good to
see you all again. It’s always a pleasure to be here”.
Guardiola gave a thorough run through of his ideas about the squad for next season,
discussing possible signings and transfers, whilst admitting he prefers to work with a small squad.
Below, listed alphabetically, are the boss’s reflections on his squad:
With Chygrynsky sold and Marquez another possible departure, Guardiola admitted that Abidal
could figure at centre half “occasionally – he has the qualities needed to play
was very positive about his incorporation, explaining: “he’s got dynamism and an
intensity that will be really good for us” and revealed he’d be useful to allow Alves
to take a rest: “Puyol is finding it increasingly hard to play at full back. I also
didn’t want somebody who could only play at right back”.
Once again, the boss was full of praise for his young striker: “I’ve not seen him
today, as I had other things to do, but I will. I’m really pleased that he’s continuing
here. If he does what he did last year when he was vital in us taking the league title, then I know
he’s going to make things tough for me. I hope I can give him the game time he
Guardiola reckons his signing is difficult: “I can understand that he is an important
player at Arsenal. They know that we want him. He’s a top player, young, educated here at
this club and taken away from us when he was just 15”.
Pep knows his midfield needs strengthening and is looking for somebody like Xavi or Iniesta,
or maybe Toure: “we’re a bit short of players in the middle”.
“It’s been a real pleasure to have worked with him. Barca have to be thankful to
all the players who’ve played here. We have great memories of his time here and I hope
everything goes well in the future”. Guardiola also explained that the decision to leave was
he’s counting on the Swedish striker, Guardiola admitted: “a player of his quality has
to decide his own future”, insisting that like Marquez, Ibra must make his own decision as to
whether he stays, whilst accepting that the player has not expressed his desire to leave and
insisting he doesn’t want to sell him. “He came here to be a reference for the team,
but an injury at the end of last season meant that he was out for a month and he didn’t start
the last few games. He has always worked hard to achieve the status he has”.
The World Cup hero received fulsome praise, with the boss claiming: “it’s good
that the goal that won the trophy came from such an unassuming guy who is so fond of the game.
He’s such a normal guy. He had a few problems last season and let’s see if we can again
enjoy him at his best this year”.
If there is no signing of a direct replacement for Touré, Keita could take over in the
defensive midfield role.
As with Ibra, Guardiola left the ball firmly in the player’s court: “it’s
down to him if he stays or not. We spoke about it before the World Cup” Guardiola also
praised Marquez’s attitude during his seven years at the club.
Guardiola reckons Messi had a good World Cup: “he was one of the most active players in
qualification, but they came up against a great German team. I’m sure it made him sad to
lose, because things get to him, but I think he’s keen to get back and play as that’s
what he enjoys”, adding he can come back from his break whenever he likes.
with Chygrynsky, Guardiola was disappointed at the African’s departure, explaining:
“it’s a big loss for us. I understand that he’s a player who wants to play more
often, particularly in the big games and I couldn’t give him all the opportunities he wanted.
He’s an impressive athlete, an extraordinary lad who I had a good relation with, but he
wanted out. I did everything possible to keep him - everything and more. I feel very bad about it,
but I hope he finds what we couldn’t give him at City”.
Lamenting his departure, Pep revealed: “I know it looks like I’m a liar because I
said he would stay, but even though I have my views, the interest of the club must come first and
the President told me we had to sell him. The economic question always holds sway over my
Guardiola sees him as the replacement for Henry: “he can cover both positions well
– down the middle and on the left wing. He’s always got goals, he’s very direct
and good at finding space”.
Henrique, Hleb, Víctor Sánchez and Keirrison
Guardiola explained that he’d like the players out on loan last season to repeat their
experience: “that’s our intention, but we know that if that’s not possible, they
are Barca players and they will come back here. We’ll try and find a way out for them”.