Ousmane Dembele, seen here celebrating after scoring in the Spanish Super Cup on Saturday, could be set for his breakthrough season at Barcelona's. Photo: REUTERS/Sergio Perez
Ousmane Dembele, seen here celebrating after scoring in the Spanish Super Cup on Saturday, could be set for his breakthrough season at Barcelona's. Photo: REUTERS/Sergio Perez
Lionel Messi lifts the Super Cup trophy with his teammates after their win over Sevilla. Photo: REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Lionel Messi lifts the Super Cup trophy with his teammates after their win over Sevilla. Photo: REUTERS/Jon Nazca

BARCELONA - Ernesto Valverde's Barcelona romped to La Liga victory last season, finishing 14 points ahead of Atletico Madrid and 17 in front of arch-rivals Real Madrid.

However the Catalans have not sat back on their laurels after the summer break, basking in the glory of their domestic double. Spurred on by a painful Champions League quarter-final defeat by Roma, Barcelona have reinforced their squad wisely in the summer window.

Although an early move for Antoine Griezmann broke down when the striker decided to stay with Atletico Madrid, they quickly sealed deals for Sevilla centre-back Clement Lenglet, Gremio playmaker Arthur and Bordeaux winger Malcom.

An opportunistic strike for Chilean midfield scrapper Arturo Vidal from Bayern Munich for 19 million euros rounded off Barcelona's good work in the transfer market, barring any late acquisitions.

Barcelona want the former Juventus star for his tenacious qualities which will allow them to keep a footing in games like the stunning 3-0 defeat in Rome which eliminated them from European football last season.

Another player who may also seem like a new signing is Ousmane Dembele, who scored a brilliant goal to earn Barcelona their first trophy of the campaign in Sunday's 2-1 Spanish Super Cup win over Sevilla in Morocco.

The French winger is raring to go after an injury-hit first year at the Camp Nou following his move from Borussia Dortmund last summer and is expected to fit in on the left of the attack with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi alongside him.

Barcelona lost captain Andres Iniesta at the end of last season, with the legendary playmaker joining Japanese side Vissel Kobe, but Philippe Coutinho has shown positive signs of being able to adapt to his role in midfield.

While the Catalans are presenting a settled side, strengthened in the right places, Real Madrid seem to be significantly weaker having lost Cristiano Ronaldo as well as coach Zinedine Zidane.

"It was important to win the title and show that we are hungry to continue winning trophies and being able to play the level we want," said goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen after Barcelona saw off Sevilla in Tangier.

The Spanish Super Cup was the first piece of silverware available to Barcelona but it is just an appetiser with La Liga, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey up for grabs. "We are building a competitive team that will aspire to (win) everything," said president Josep Maria Bartomeu after the win over Sevilla.

With several new faces on board, Barcelona are favourites to lift the Spanish title again, and star player Lionel Messi will want to triumph in his first season as the club captain. The Argentine endured World Cup disappointment with Argentina but his time at Barcelona has seen him collect trophy after trophy, and with his old rival Ronaldo out of the picture, most expect that to continue.

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter