Coach Xavi Hernandez stated on Tuesday that his Barcelona club needed to be rebuilt following a difficult season, but he wouldn’t say if Robert Lewandowski was a transfer target.
The Catalan giants ended 13 points behind La Liga winners Real Madrid, with their season concluding with a 2-0 home loss to Villarreal on Sunday.
Barcelona had been defeated in four of their previous nine games in all competitions.
The next morning, they boarded a plane to Australia for their first-ever encounter, a friendly against an A-League All-Star squad coached by former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke and led by former Manchester City defender Jack Rodwell.
Among the 20 players brought to Sydney by Xavi are captain Sergio Busquets, Dani Alves, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Frenkie de Jong, Memphis Depay, and juvenile phenom Ansu Fati.
Gerard Pique and Pedri, a young striker, were both absent.
“We need to improve a lot next season, we’ve grown a lot since November,” said Barcelona midfield veteran Xavi, who was hired in November when the squad was ninth.
While he helped them resurrect and accomplish their most important goal of qualifying for the Champions League, they lost to Frankfurt in the Europa League quarter-finals and the Copa del Rey in the last 16.
“I believe we are on the right track; we must remain optimistic.” But, at least, we need to fight and win the Champions League next season,” Xavi added.
“We’re reassembling the crew. Of course, we have a strategy, and we need to be competitive next season. We cannot go another season without winning a championship.”
Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski, who was the Bundesliga’s top scorer for the sixth year in a row last season, has been extensively linked with a move to Barcelona.
His agent, Pini Zahavi, informed the German newspaper Bild this week that the striker wants to leave Bayern, with Barcelona apparently offering 32 million euros ($34 million) to recruit him.
When approached by AFP, Xavi declined to confirm his interest.
“I am unable to confirm Lewandowski or any other names,” he stated. “Of course, we’re working hard, and it’s clear that we need to become better.”
“It’s only a question of time,” he said of introducing new players. “If we have to make an announcement, we will make it, but now is not the time.”