On the beginning this was supposed to be another fantasy article but in the meantime it turned in a half-fantasy article. Namely, between the beginning and the end of writing this article, Antoine Greizmann has officially signed for Barcelona. It remains to be seen will Neymar join him.
Using Football Manager 2019, we decided to simulate three seasons with Neymar and Griezmann in the Blaugrana’s jersey. Except these two transfers, we used a transfer update for all other transfers. With that beign said, you can conclude that Neto and Frenkie de Jong are here too.
Start of the simulation
Manager Ernesto Valverde prefers 4-3-3 formation and, for three positions in attack, it’s going to be a strong competition. Apart from our main actors, there are five another players in that area – Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Malcom. A pretty crowd with which they can form two atomic attacks and one of the players still has to stay on the bench. With such a team, Barcelona is even more convincingly highlighted as the main candidate for titles in all competitions in which they are playing.
The statistics of these two players after first season reveals that Griezmann wasn’t impose himself as the first choice at the top of attack while Neymar has took over the position he had occupied before he left to Paris. Five goals and the same ammount of assists in La Liga matches isn’t enough for the player you payed €120m. Could say it’s disappointing. On the other side, Neymar haven’t disappointed us, but we expect more then 14 golas and 6 assists from a player of his quality. Regardless, Brazilian has played very well in Champions League and scored 6 times in 11 matches.
To avoid any kind of misunderstanding, transfers on the screenshot are from real life. No transfer has been made by Barca during first season in Football Manager. In domestic league, Barcelona remained short for three points. In case of equal ammount of points, we should look at matches between teams and Real Madrid was more succesfull. A similar situation Barcelona also had during playing in the UEFA Champions League. They stucked on the last step again. After 13 points from group with Shakhtar, Tottenham i Leipzig, they finished on the second place. During knock out stage, Barcelona beat Napoli, Liverpool and Bayern but in the final Valencia was too strong. Copa del Rey also ran out of thier hands after loss against Real Madrid in semi final. As a consolation, they won the Spanish Supercup at the start of the season.
Although he played less than his main rival in the position of the most prolific striker, Antoine Grizemann was elected in Barcelona’s best XI. Messi and Neymar are on the wingers. The rest of the team is quite standard but the strange fact is that Ivan Rakitić didn’t find his place in the best team, even on the bench.
Neymar has played another average season, similar to the last one. This time he scored 16 goals and 4 assists but this time he failed in UEFA Champions League with only two assists with no goals. Griezmann has improved his form and scored 14 golas in the league, 23 in all competitions.
Better form from our main actors didn’t help to Barcelona in battle for some of the big trophys. In the league they won six points less than last season and that was enough for only fourth place. Worse result was also recorded in Europe. Bayern was better in quarter final of UEFA Champions League. As a consolation, they won the Copy del Rey by defeating Real Madrid in the final after extra time. Comparing with the last season, Umtiti (left the club), Vidal and Griezmann have come out of the best team and their seats were occupied by Lenglet, B. Fernandes and Luis Suarez. After another bad season Ernesto Valverde was forced to leave Camp Nou.
This season Barcelona bought three players to strenghten thier squad. The arrival of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting is most noticeable. For the price of €42m, they got a player who won the place in the best 11 according to fans. Second reinforcement was German defender Antonio Rüdiger. Summer transfer window has concluded by signing Roman Zobnin from Spartak Moscow. Samuel Umtiti, Frenkie de Jong and Rafinha left the club.
During third season Neymar has had a lot of injury problems. Because of that, he missed almost four months of the season. This can be seen in his statistic. He played only 22 games and scored only 6 goals. Griezmann was on the last season level in terms of league but in the other competitions he had a weaker performance.
Before the start of the season, club’s board was in search for the new manager. They found him in North London, at Arsenal’s bench. Unai Emery, after his arrival, set off to reconstruct the team. Ousmane Dembele left the club and signed for Manchester United and Clement Lenglet joined him. To the other side of Manchester went Arthur. Later, Ivan Rakitić, Jordi Alba and Malcom left the club as well. Barcelona brought five new players: Marco Verratti, Suso, Luiz Felipe, Nikola Milenković and James Rodriguez.
Although €237m was spent on the team’s reconstruction (but if we calculate and outbound transfers it turns out that the year ended in a plus of €29m), Barcelona ended the season withaout a single trophy. La Liga has ended up in Real Madrid hands for third season in a row, this time with 10 points more. In Champions League better was Arsenal in quarter final, and in the fifth round of Copa del Rey, Barcelona has been stopped by Celta Vigo. Season to forget.
Antoine Griezmann already signed for the amount of €120m. Neymar is often mentioned as a possible option and his transfer wouldn’t be cheap. Football Manager predicts that such a result would be very paintfull for Barcelona. During three seasons team from Camp Nou won only two trophys – Copa del Rey and Supercup – and that’s not good enough.
Of course, if Neymar sign for Barcelona, some of current players from the attack would left the club. Dembele is on Bayern’s target, Coutinho could be on his way to Paris as a part of deal for Neymar, and Malcom is on outgoing door since he arrived to the club.
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