Mon, May 12, 2008 - Page 18 News List

LFP: Barca set for big clearout at end of Spanish season


Troubled Spanish giants Barcelona are keen to offload no less than 14 players this summer.

The claim was made on Friday by Catalan television channel TV3 and on Saturday by daily paper Sport.

According to Sport, club president Joan Laporta and incoming coach Josep Guardiola are determined to have a “massive cleanout” in the fractious Barca dressing-room, after two seasons without a trophy.

Laporta and Guardiola will consult with former Barca player and coach Johan Cruyff, the man who recommended that Guardiola be brought in to replace Frank Rijkaard, despite all opinion polls suggesting that the fans would prefer Jose Mourinho.

The highest that Barca can finish this season in La Liga is third. They are seven points behind second-placed Villarreal with just two games left — and 17 points behind champions Real Madrid.

Yesterday Rijkaard and several players — though not the mysteriously injured Ronaldinho — were due to say goodbye to the Camp Nou in the otherwise meaningless home game against Mallorca.

On the list of unwanted players are reserve goalkeepers Jose Manuel Pinto and Albert Jorquera. Victor Valdes will stay, though the club will sign another keeper.

Defenders Oleguer Presas, Gianluca Zambrotta, Lilian Thuram, Rafa Marquez, Jose Edmilson and Sylvinho are all on the hit list.

Catalan sports paper Mundo Deportivo claimed on Saturday that Guardiola would like to sign Alessandro Mancini from AS Roma.

Deco and Samuel Eto’o will also be up for sale. Laporta is furious at the pair for apparently missing Wednesday’s 4-1 thrashing by Real Madrid on purpose, by picking up absurd yellow cards in the previous game.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Barca are keen on Arsenal playmaker Alexander Hleb.

Laporta and Guardiola are also keen to sell off forwards Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Santi Ezquerro, together with Eto’o.

Ronaldinho has not played since the March 9 home defeat against Villarreal, claiming an enigmatic injury that has divided the club doctors and led to all manner of speculation about an unprofessional lifestyle.

Mundo Deportivo claimed on Saturday that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of Ajax is top of Barca’s wanted striker list, though Sport believes that the “big priority” is to sign Karim Benzema from Olympique Lyon.

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