8 players who must prove their worth during Japan tour
Barcelona are set to take on Chelsea and Vissel Kobe this week. And although these matches are 'friendlies', there are eight players in Barca's squad that need to be at their best if they want to have successful 2019-20 season:
Earlier rumours claimed that the Frenchman could leave on loan this summer but considering that Barca failed to land Matthijs De Ligt, the 19-year-old is set to become the team's fourth-choice centre-back. Last season, the youngster barely played for the Catalans, having completed only two official games.
However, Tidobo seems determined to establish himself as a regular and he even started the pre-season 15 days earlier than the rest of the squad. The France U19 international will have the chance to impress Ernesto Valverde during pre-season.
The 25-year-old has been struggling with a knee injury for the last season which saw him lose the starting spot to Clement Lenglet. Despite rumours linking him with a move away from Camp Nou, Sam himself confirmed that he is determined to stay and fight for the centre-back starting position. As such, Umtiti needs to show the boss and the fans that he is still the same player we knew and loved.
Just like the other two, the right-back was linked with a possible departure. Allegedly, the Portuguese is unhappy with the amount of playing time he got last season, having to share minutes with Sergi Roberto. The Japan tour is a great opportunity for him to back his demands with solid performances and finally establish himself as the starting right-back.
Frenkie de Jong
The Dutchman is, perhaps, one of the most exciting signings in Barca's recent history. The 22-year-old is meant to become the next midfield leader at Barca. However, with Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic still in the squad, Frenkie will have to work twice as hard to show Valverde that he deserves to play from start next season.
Although a recent report from Barcelona-based Diario Sport claims that the coaching staff is impressed with the new signing, it also states that he lack's a bit in the physical department.
The midfielder is one of best players to graduate from La Masia lately. Despite his young age and lack of experience, he managed 27 first-team appearances last season while scoring 2 goals. Nonetheless, Barcelona's midfield is a bit overcrowded at the moment, especially with De Jong's arrival. If he wants to continue at his beloved club, Alena has to show what he is capable of in the friendlies against Chelsea and Vissel Kobe.
Although an undisputed starter for the first half of the last season, the winger received yet another injury which saw him miss several important games this spring. Just like Todibo, Ousmane started training earlier than the rest of the squad this summer and is determined to improve his physical conditions. If he manages to stay fit for the next season, Dembele will show what kind of player he really is.
Being Barca's third-most expensive signing, there sure is a lot of pressure on the 28-year-old's shoulders. With Luis Suarez still on holiday, Antoine is the only player in the squad capable of playing in the centre-forward role. This would serve as a great opportunity to show Valverde that he is ready to replace Suarez and perhaps we could end up having the Dembele-Griezmann-Messi trio as the starting attacking options.
The Brazilian showed glimpses of class last season. However, he didn't have many opportunities to impress as Valverde chose to play Philippe Coutinho on the wing. This summer, however, there aren't too many attackers available for the pre-season, which means that the 22-year-old will finally get the chance to show what he can do.
What excites you the most about the Japan tour?