Continuing on from my last post, in which I covered Barca's goalkeepers and defenders.
Name: Xavier 'Xavi' Hernández Creus
Evaluation: Xavi is one of the leaders of the team and the player who has been in the first team the longest in the current squad despite his relative youth.
Having lost most of the 05-06 season to injury, he was once again hampered by injury problems this season, although they were thankfully mostly minor compared to what he went through before. He's had better seasons, which is reflected in the period that saw him sometimes dropped in favour of Iniesta, but having said that, there's no faulting the effort he puts in and even when his form isn't the best, his essential quality of accurate, incisive passing remains. His form improved markedly towards the end of the season. Scored a couple of nice goals.
Probability of transfer: none. Xavi's been with us for his entire career, and long may it continue. (Although I recently heard a rumour that he supported Espanyol as a child, which is a bit disturbing.) He'll only leave if he doesn't get any games, which is a bit of a worry with Iniesta's rise, but that issue shouldn't need to be forced for a while yet.
Name: Anderson 'Deco' Luis de Souza
Evaluation: A lot of Barca supporters were disgruntled with Deco's antics. The most valuable attribute that he brings to the team is a winning mentality, and that seemed to go missing at times this season. Not to mention the alleged off-field adventures which have landed him in several notorious English tabloids. He's had a largely sub-par season, but improved towards the end. Impressive contribution to Barca's European campaign as usual. The thing about Deco is that even when he's not at his best, Barca benefit from having his particular brand of flair and bite in midfield.
Probability of transfer: low. There was a lot of speculation surrounding him and I was afraid the club were tempted to sell, which would be a serious misjudgement in my opinion. Thankfully they've come out and said outright that he's not for sale.
Name: Andrés Iniesta Luján
Evaluation: The only worthy candidate for Barca's player of the season along with Victor Valdes and one other player I haven't mentioned yet. I had a moment of disbelief when I worked out his age, because he's appeared for the first team 165 times already and captained Barca on a couple of occasions. Iniesta has always had a mature air about him, but I think it can be said that this is the season in which he came of age as a footballer. He's not particularly fast or strong as a player, but he can do everything that you could ask of a midfielder: marking, tackling, incisive, precise passing, blistering runs from midfield and goals from distance. This season, while all around him floundered, he did all of those things, consistently and well.
Probability of transfer: none. A La Masia product like Xavi, he's instrumental to the club's plans for the future.
Name: José Gomes Edmílson Morais
Evaluation: Edmilson has been plagued by injuries even since he joined Barca. In fact, in his 3 seasons at the club the 05-06 season is the only one in which he came close to having a full season on optimal form. This season he has had his playing time cut by both injuries and indifferent form. Mostly unimpressive when he did play.
Probability of transfer: high. Edmilson has expressed his desire to leave due to the lack of playing time. Unfortunately, he had to have a knee operation which will keep him out for six months, which may deter most suitors. There have also been some rumours that Barca will try to keep him for the whole of next season as a backup option once he gets fit.
Name: Thiago Motta
Evaluation: Motta is an odd case, as Frank Rijkaard is very fond of him despite his time in the Barca first team being mostly marked by endless injuries, unfortunately timed red cards and wildly inconsistent form. This season was no different, although the sending off incidents were few and the single notable instance wasn't his fault. He was often injured again, which is the probable cause of his form problems and led to the club not being able to rely on him even when he was fit. Motta actually had a couple of good games this season, which is the frustrating thing about him - there's potential, but no one knows if it will ever be realized.
Probability of transfer: already done. Or at least the club have told him he's surplus to requirements after Toure joined. It's a sad state of affairs when a La Masia graduate is forced to leave for a foreign signing, but it was inevitable.