Barcelona are making positive steps to eradicate their problems

Finishing a domestic and European campaign without any new pieces of silverware in the Camp Nou trophy cabinet is something of a rarity in the modern age, with 2013-14 seeing Barcelona edged out of the competitions they have become so used to winning.

There has been a considerable amount of negativity around the Catalan club of late, with plenty hailing their downturn in form on the pitch as the end of an era.

With this being compounded by a proposed transfer ban and the untimely passing of former coach Tito Vilanova, there hasn’t been too much to smile about for the Bluagrana faithful of late.

However, over the space of the last week the historic La Liga club looks to be making major decisions that will go some way to bucking the recent unsuccessful trend.

Gerardo Martino has stepped down as the side’s head coach after a solitary campaign, in a not unexpected move. Barcelona have moved quickly to replace the Argentine, with one of their own brought back into the fray.

Luis Enrique’s managerial career to date has had its ups-and-downs, with successful spells at Barcelona B and Celta Vigo offset by a botched time in charge of Roma in Serie A.

However, having played for the Catalan club for eight years as a player and spent a further three in charge of its reserve side, Enrique’s appointment makes sense.

Barcelona have always been something of an insular club. There is a collective mentality of us versus them and an emphasis on dependence on the La Masia youth ranks.

It certainly was time for someone with stellar club ties to take over the reigns as head coach, with Enrique a fans’ favourite after his countless shows of passion and dedication in the Blaugrana colours as a player.

From a managerial perspective it also makes sense, as Enrique will know the players well and have a link to a fair few up-and-coming stars from his time as B team boss.

Luis EnriqueWith the likes of promising attacker Gerard Deulofeu and Rafa Alcântara, who Enrique coached at Celta, likely to be brought back from loan spells, the new boss seems like the man to get the best from them.

The club has also been quick to sign up a number of key players to new long-term deals, ending suggestions that it could all unravel for Barcelona.

Lionel Messi’s new contract, which is said to make him the highest-paid footballer on the planet – and deservedly so.

If the Camp Nou side is to regain their mantle as Spain and Europe’s best team, it will be the divine Argentine that will lead them back to the glory days.

It is widely expected that critical defender Gerard Piqué is set to follow suit, with the centre-half said to ready to pen a new and improved deal to keep him with his boyhood club until 2019.

With the ex-Manchester United man’s current deal expiring next summer and the impending departure of Carles Puyol, Piqué’s importance in the club’s silverware charge cannot be understated.

With the reported transfer ban suspended for the time being as the club appeals, a central defensive partner for Piqué must surely be the priority for Barcelona in the transfer market.

In the meantime, another trouble area has been sorted out with an excellent new addition.

With Víctor Valdés set to leave the club, the search for a new custodian has been ongoing and Barcelona have landed one of the most promising in Europe in the form of Marc-André ter Stegen

At 22 years old the Germany international has all the potential to be as successful and long-standing in the Camp Nou goal as the man he is set to replace and his acquisition is an exciting one for the club’s fans.

There may well be a hint of transition in the air at Barcelona given that some of their stalwart stars are leaving this summer – but the Catalan giants should not be written off.

With arguably their two most important players signing long-term contracts, a new homegrown manager with the club’s best interests in place and an opportunity for further strengthening, talk of the Blaugrana’s demise is very premature.

I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo,, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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