I think the reality is squad is improved, mainly in terms of potential, but first 11 is much worse. But we also lost our 3 most important and well connected players. Anyone who played in team knew what to expect from them and how to play alongside them.
Lukaku scored all the goals, and was going to require a redesign to replace. We setup to play to his strengths and there isn't a better Lukaku, you have to adapt.
Barkley created the vast majority of our play, in terms of dribbling, connecting play, trying to create chances and drawing attention. We don't have a creative player you can build a team around, like a De Bruyne, but most teams don't. And again this is a case of adapting, but here you can even split roles. As in you can get a great passer and another player who can dribble.
Barry, I'm not sure anyone quite appreciated his quality on the ball, until we didn't have it. His positional and defensive nous often gave us added security, but it's his distribution and quality on the ball that we've probably missed most on regular basis. There aren't many players who look up or play anything different to anyone else.
In terms of direct replacements, Davies has got a few assists and shown signs of the wider distribution. Barry would have chopped Demerai Gray, and he's tried more than others. But with Beni, Gana, Schneiderlin as well, its not a major issue and you don't need great distribution there, its a bonus or option.
In terms of replacing Barkley, we have Vlasic, who has shown signs of being to dribble through several players, retain possession and move us forward. His passing looks more simple than incisive, but he's still a peripheral figure on field.
In terms of replacing Lukaku, we have Sandro. Hasn't had many chances and struggled when he did. DCL has held ball up better, and Niasse has
The volume of options, meant that no one really got game time or has settled that well.
Look at the wingers and there is creative players who can run with the ball, strikers are decent enough to score goals. In hindisght I think this could still be a very good window, but right now we have nothing.