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PAMPLONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 10: FC Barcelona line up for a team photo prior to the start the La Liga match between CA Osasuna and FC Barcelona at Estadio Reyno de Navarra on December 10, 2016 in Pamplona, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

What is missing in Barça (apart from Neymar)?

Beaten at Camp Nou in Supercup of Spain to go by Real Madrid on Sunday (3-1), FC Barcelona, of which it was the first official match without Neymar, accuses misses that it will have to fill. Before the return (today 23:00), focus on 3 projects.

That Sergio Busquets emerges from his usual reserve may be a sign that the entire Barcelona locker room is questioning. After the defeat against Real Madrid in the first round of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday at Camp Nou (3-1, returning at 23:00), the Spanish international asked for signatures.

While his former teammate Neymar was smiling at the same time of his successful debut in Guingamp with the PSG, he grumbled in mixed zone: “It is not because of this defeat that the team needs reinforcements but because it Must be renewed. We have to (recruit) whatever happens. ”

Not a matter of circumstances, but of substance. Busquets did not say so, but in addition to Neymar’s line-up, the middle line was also questioning as the new coach, Ernesto Valverde, was waiting for Paulinho and seemed to prefer Aleix Vidal to Sergi Roberto as the right-hand side.

1. What successor to Neymar?

 “To compensate for the absence of Neymar, I have many players who are ready to play,” quietly assured Valverde on the eve of the first Clasico of the season. The first to stick to it, the Spaniard Gerard Deulofeu, suffered on the left and the comparison. Not really surprising as the responsibility is still heavy to bear for the player of 23 years redeemed 12 M € this summer in Everton.
Deulofeu may only be an interim in the old garden of Neymar. The Catalan club accelerates on Dembélé (Dortmund) and Coutinho (Liverpool). With the € 222 million reported to him the biggest transfer in history, Barça has ample means to try to reconstruct a trident of shock alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. “We are Barça,” asserts Valverde. We want to be the best team and until 31 August (end of the transfer window), like all the other teams, the market is open to us. “
2. What is the environment with Paulinho?
 Le Barça restera le Barça. C’est la conviction des observateurs catalans. Pour Ernest Folch, le directeur du quotidien Sport, cité la semaine dernière par France Football, le départ de Neymar est «une opportunité pour l’équipe de se rééquilibrer autour de son milieu de terrain, l’essence du jeu blaugrana».

Le défi est de taille. Andres Iniesta (33 ans) n’est pas éternel à ce niveau. Ivan Rakitic a été irrégulier la saison dernière. Denis Suarez ou André Gomes n’ont pas encore prouvé qu’ils avaient l’étoffe pour succéder à Xavi. Et si l’ancien maître a encensé le Niçois Jean-Michaël Seri, c’est un joueur au profil de bulldozer qui va (d’abord ?) débarquer en Catalogne avec Paulinho.

Recruté contre 40 M€ au Guangzhou Evergrande en Chine, ce milieu «à l’anglaise» pourrait offrir au technicien espagnol une alternative au 4-3-3 de référence au Camp Nou. Paulinho (29 ans) est attendu jeudi alors que le Barça lancera sa saison en Liga dimanche contre le Betis Séville (20h15).

3. Still a right side?
In addition to the uncertainties that escort the identity of the “new” Neymar and more generally the game Barcelona impelled by his midfielder, the right lateral post also appears perfectible. The midfielder Sergi Roberto has been “unfolding” without shining since the departure of Dani Alves, while the designated successor of the Brazilian, Aleix Vidal, has been used very little since his arrival two seasons ago. It was he who played Sunday against Real. A permanent choice of Valverde or a solution of waiting before entrusting the job to the summer recruit to this post, the Portuguese Nelson Semedo, bought 30 million euros from Benfica?

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