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Barça will meet Celtic once again after already playing in a preseason friendly | MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

FC Barcelona’s Champions League 2016/16 campaign gets going on Tuesday 13 September. With the transfer window now closed, the squad is complete, with not just the board but also Luis Enrique talking about one of the best ever at the Catalan club. But what kind of deals have been happening this summer at Barça’s three group stage rivals? Let’s have a look and see…

CELTIC

There have been a number of changes to the side managed by Brendan Rodgers since they met Barcelona in a pre-season friendly. The early pace-setters in the Scottish Premier League with ten goals and nine points from their first three games, Celtic not only have Griffiths, scorer of 40 goals last season, and the speedy Forrest in their attack, but also Scott Sinclair, the pacey winger signed from relegated Aston Villa.

The main striker will be sharing his role with Moussa Dembele, the former Fulham man. With Scepovic having departed for Getafe, the main changes are in attack, but the Celts have also bolstered their defence by acquiring Kolo Touré.

Other new arrivals are Cristian Gamboa (full back), Kristoffer Ajer (midfield), Dorus de Vries (goalkeeper), Patrick Roberts (on loan from Manchester City) and three players that have been upgraded from the reserves. But the core of the side remains the same, with Gordonin in goal and O’Connell and Lustig in defence, with Scott Brown captaining the team and Griffiths leading the frontline as the green-and-white half of Glasgow seeks a sixth league title in a row.

BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH

Five players have left and five players have arrived in the squad coached by André Shubert. The biggest move away was that of Swiss international Granit Xhaka, who has gone to Arsenal to be replaced by Kramer, signed from Bayer Leverkusen to add more corpulence to the midfield. Tobias Strobl, who has come from Hoffenheim, is also a player that operates in midfield, where there’s another new signing in 18-year-old Lászlo Bénes.

Dane Vestergaard, formerly of Werder Bremen and Mamadou Doucouré, who was in the PSG reserves last term will strengthen the Borussia defence, but the forward line remains unchanged, with Ibrahima TraoréAndré Hahn and Raffael accompanied by the ever-dangerous Thorgan Hazard and Lars Stindl.

MANCHESTER CITY

Following the arrival of former Barça manager Pep Guardiola, there has been a massive clear-out at Man City, with no fewer than 15 players being loaned out and another four being sold. The one that made all the headlines was goalkeeper Joe Hart, the first choice stopper in recent seasons who will now be playing on loan at Torino. Dzeko spent last season on loan at Roma and has now been sold to the Italian club, while Rulli (Real Sociedad), Lejeune (Eibar) and Jovetic (Inter Milan) have also left for good.

The huge number of loan deals affect Mangala (Valencia), new signings Pablo Marí (Girona), Zinchenko (PSV) and Marlos Moreno (Deportivo), Nasri (Sevilla) and Bruno Zuculini (Rayo Vallecano).

Naturally, the English side has brought in a number of new faces. Claudio Bravo, as any Barça fan will know, will be standing between the posts, while the frontline has been boosted by Nolito and Gabriel Jesús, who won’t be joining until January. Young Leroy Sañé (wing), Gündogan (midfield) and John Stones (defence) are among the main new addition to Guardiola’s squad.


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