Cross-posting from the summer transfer thread with some minor edits to get this started: It's been a quiet summer for the Catalans, but that is offset a bit by the fact that Coutinho arrived in January and Dembele barely played last season. Gone is the Illusionista as the list of players from the Pep core are down to 3 (Messi, Pique, and Busi). Arthur was brought in from Brazil to bolster the MF and perhaps Mina will see more time at CB. Personnel wise, I think there are a few keys to the season: Where will Coutinho play. Although he lacks speed, Coutinho is really at his best at LW. His combination play and outside shooting are best utilized there, but he may have to play in MF if EV wants to play Dembouz-Luisito-Messi in a front 3. The development and integration of Denis and Arthur's ability to step into MF are key here as well. RB. Semedo seems like the obvious answer here, but last season he wasn't a lock and Roberto played over him. If Semedo does step in, then Roberto could be a real key to the MF. If Roberto doesn't step into MF this year, he likely never will (at least not at Barca). Old guys. Pique, Busi, and Messi. I think this is the year where these guys finally slow down to the point where they will either alter their game or be rotated more frequently. The club should really be thinking about how to keep these legends fresh for the biggest matches and start integrating other players. For Pique, Llenglet, Mina, and Vermaelen should make this fairly straightforward. For Busi, there are lots of bullets in the chamber but no one knows how good Samper is, if Roberto can do it, or if Rakitic is there, whether there is someone else who can perform his other role. For Messi, no one will duplicate what he brings, but the team can also play a more straightforward scheme and play with 11 men. Messi brings nothing on defense and while he carries the offense for 80-90% of the season, when he goes off form the team has no alternative. Which brings me to... Ernesto. Ernie has come out and said he expects to revert back to a 4-3-3 this season. Cules are overly concerned with this, as the responsibilities of the wingers can make a 4-3-3 look like a 4-5-1, 4-4-2, or any other number of formations. But, if EV tries to keep balance in formation rather than throw numbers forward in attack, the fanbase will get restless.