Despite all their summer business, Ronald Koeman believes that Barcelona still have a great team that is capable of doing big things this season although the Dutch boss did admit to being realistic. The La Liga giants lost Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann this summer but signed five new players.
With Barcelona still in financial crisis going into the summer transfer window, it had their fans curious as to how the club would wade through the summer. But while they were forced to let Lionel Messi go for free and sent Antoine Griezmann out on loan, the La Liga giants finished the window with five new arrivals. That includes Memphis Depay, Sergio Aguero and Luuk de Jong with the latter a shock deadline day loan move from Sevilla.
However, that hasn’t inspired hope in many fans despite their unbeaten start to the season but Ronald Koeman believes otherwise. The Barcelona coach admitted that there is room to improve and the team needs to be realistic but he believes they have a great squad. The Dutch manager also added that it will be a difficult road ahead but the club “can do big things”.
"There are always things to improve but I'll tell you one thing: if we have everyone available, we can do big things. We have a great team. We still have to be realistic, it will be difficult, but I am optimistic and ambitious," Koeman said, reported ESPN.
The shock move of the summer, beyond Cristiano Ronaldo re-signing for Manchester United, was Lionel Messi signing for PSG on a free-transfer. The Argentine had come to an agreement over a contract extension that included a massive pay-cut but it still wasn’t enough to pass the La Liga’s salary rules and Barcelona eventually had to say goodbye. Yet, Koeman confessed that he had planned the season with Messi in mind and while they have to “turn the page”, they don’t need to make wholesale tactical changes.
"It was a huge blow. We had planned for the season with him. We lose so much and it took a few days to get things in order, but we must turn the page and build the team. Losing Messi doesn't oblige us to play different tactically but there are things without the ball where the team can improve. We won't have the individual quality of Leo, but in pressing and structuring the team, the team is better now,” Koeman further said.
Furthermore, with Barcelona finally getting Memphis Depay, nearly a year after the move was initially supposed to take place, the Dutch international has been a bright spark. Three goal contributions in three games for his new side, Depay has hit the ground running and Koeman believes that the 27-year-old can “mark an era at” the Camp Nou.
"Memphis can mark an era at Barca. He has something that is essential to be a success here: personality and character. There's something different about him and he's really motivated by the challenge of being here,” he added.