With Barcelona firing on all fronts this season, the 2012/13 campaign could prove to be a very successful one for the Catalan club.
And with Atletico Madrid dropping points in the league recently many pundits have concluded La Liga is a foregone conclusion, leaving Barcelona to concentrate on the Champions League and a semi-final cup tie against rivals Real Madrid. Some people have even begun to look ahead to the summer and speculate on some of the big issues that will have to be addressed both on and off the pitch for the Catalan club.
Here are some of the issues that may need addressing come the end of the season...
1/ New signings
There is an urgent requirement for a goalkeeper following Valdés' decision not to continue, and a defender as a result of Song's poor performances. Ter Stegen, Kiko Casilla, De Gea, Guaita, Courtois and Reina are the keepers at the top of the list, but there are pros and cons with all of them.
The key is to find a balance between price, quality and youth. As far as defence goes, the priority must be finding a footballer with Mats Hummels' type profile, as was on the agenda last year.
Vilanova would like Thiago Silva but he is not a possibility. Barcelona may also be looking to finalise a move for Brazilian striker Neymar, but the player still looks determined to stay at his current club Santos until the summer of 2014.
2/ Contract renewals
The second issue is renewals. With Xavi, Carles Puyol and Leo Messi already secured, the objective now is Andres Iniesta, whose current contract ends in 2015. In addition, Adriano, whose deal expires in 2014, will also be renewed and negotiations have already begun with Deulofeu, considered a great hope for the future.
The third point is one of the most sensitive issues as it deals with departures. There is still half a year remaining and everything can change, but there are definitely three names on the table. Valdés has said that he will not stay after 2014 and Villa may follow him out. Economically speaking, June is the ideal time to benefit from his exit. Barcelona is not prepared to lose money or let him go for nothing. The third player to be ruled out is Jonathan Dos Santos, who is refusing to leave.
4/ Temporary loan deals
The players rated by the club but with limited chances of playing belong to the fourth point of order. Marc Bartra and Martin Montoya are very well thought of by the coaching staff but there are other players higher up the pecking order, and a lot of competition.
A loan deal could be the perfect solution so that they can get the experience and return for greater things.
5/ Returning players
There are also players out on loan who are due to return to the club this year. Some are welcome, others not. This is the fifth point to be addressed. Ibrahim Afellay & Isaac Cuenca fall into this category. Cuenca is on loan to Ajax where he must demonstrate that he is fully recovered from his knee injury. But he is getting some playing time at the moment and will be part of the plan for next season.
6/ Eric Abidal
The final matter is that of the condition of Eric Abidal. Having undergone a liver transplant in April of last year the French defender has recently been back in hospital to undergo medical examinations. Despite returning to training in October he is yet to make an appearance for the club leading to speculation that the player might move on or perhaps retire when the current season concludes.
These are the main issues that will have to be addressed in what looks likely to be the busiest and most important summer of manager Tito Vilanova's reign at the club.
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