Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has named the team’s “untouchables” amid speculation about the futures of several players at the Camp Nou.
The president told Barca TV that captain Lionel Messi was one of a group of first-team stars that the Catalan giants are simply not interested in selling.
“Messi is untouchable and non-transferable. He knows it, we all know it. But there are various non-transferrable players like Ter Stegen, Lenglet, Semedo, De Jong, Griezmann, Dembele. They are players who we count on a lot and who have come to spend many years at Barça.”
Bartomeu also confirmed the club are expecting to confirm Ronald Koeman as their new manager in the wake of Quique Setien’s sacking. The Dutchman is expected to build a new team at the Camp Nou after the club finished the season empty-handed.
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Bartomeu Backing Ter Stegen to Stay
One of Barcelona’s ‘untouchables’ is goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen who is yet to sign a new contract with the club. The Germany international has been in no hurry to extend his current deal, but Bartomeu is confident he will stay.
“I am optimistic. Today they have operated on him and he is a professional. He is a great person. His renewal stopped because he said it was not the time due to the pandemic but Ter Stegen will continue for many years at Barça.”
Ter Stegen will miss the start of the season after undergoing knee surgery following the end of the season. The goalkeeper has been ruled out of action until November.
Barcelona To Put Faith in Youngsters
The Barcelona president also confirmed there would be room in the first team for some of the club’s most promising youngsters. Riqui Puig, Ronald Araujo, and Ansu Fati have all made the breakthrough in 2019-20 and also appear untouchable.
“It is clear that they will have more prominence next season. First, because there are players from La Masia who have knocked on the door of the first team and are going to stay, like Riqui, Ansu and Araujo. There are other players like Iñaki Peña, Ilaix, Monchu who will have opportunities.”
Barcelona also have two new highly-rated youngsters at the club in the shape of Pedri and Francisco Trincao. Bartomeu says the duo have already attracted interest from elsewhere before even kicking a ball for the Catalans.
“They were two great unknowns to Barça until we signed them and they are exciting players. They are young and we cannot ask them to be decisive from day one. We have had offers for them for double what we have paid.”
Both players have already begun pre-season preparations at their new club ahead of the start of the new La Liga season in September.
Meanwhile, Bartomeu’s comments suggest the rest of the first-team squad, including veterans such as Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique, are now available should the club receive an acceptable offer.