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Apr 25, 2013

Barcelona set for summer shake-up

Barcelona vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu has said coach Tito Vilanova will stay in charge next season but the squad will be “shaken up” over the summer.

Tito Vilanova is returning after treatment in New York
Vilanova will stay, Bartomeu has said

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s 4-0 Champions League hammering at Bayern Munich, the Catalan press has reported that Barca president Sandro Rosell will provide a €50 million war-chest to buy new players - but voiced uncertainty over who would get to spend it.

Bartomeu said Vilanova, criticised for waiting until his side were 4-0 down before making a change against Bayern, retained the confidence of the Barcelona board.

“Tito will continue next year," he told Catalunya Radio on Thursday. "He has a contract, and we have faith in him. It has been a difficult year for Tito, as a coach and as a person, but despite all this his management has been good.”

Vilanova and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta may also get further funds to spend should buyers be found for David Villa, Alexis Sanchez, Alex Song and perhaps even Cesc Fabregas, AS reported on Thursday.

Bartomeu did not talk about potential exits, but suggested that an overhaul of the squad was planned.

“We will make four or five signings,” he said. “We must shake up the squad. We will bring in players from Barca B. There are certain positions that need to be strengthened."

The €30 million-rated Inter Milan keeper Samir Handanovic and Borussia Dortmund centre-half Mats Hummels have figured heavily in speculation, as has Santos starlet Neymar.

Bartomeu said that, contrary to persistent rumours, no deal had yet been struck to bring the Brazilian attacker to the Camp Nou in the summer.

"The signing of Neymar is not done,” he explained. “Barca do have an interest in signing him. If he has not come yet, it is because he has a contract with Santos and we have no news that he wants to leave.”

Looking ahead to next week, Bartomeu said he had not given up hope of overturning Bayern’s four-goal advantage in Wednesday’s second leg at the Camp Nou, given the quality that Barca possess.

"Barca are excited about making a comeback in the tie," he said. “They are capable of anything - they are extraordinary. I know it is difficult to come back from four goals down, but surprises happen in football.”

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