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Barcelona’s quality attack gets timely audition as Lautaro deal stalls

FC Barcelona

A Barcelona move for Inter Milan attacker Lautaro Martinez seems like a bleak possibility, with the expiry of the striker’s €111 million release clause.

While this may come across as a massive blow for a fan-base which has been crying out for Martinez’s signature, it actually provides manager Quique Setién with an excellent opportunity next season to test the quality attacking depth available.

Messi-Suarez-Griezmann trio continues to hold key:

The Catalan club will have Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann leading the forward line. Luis Suarez might seem like a player past his prime, but the attacker will be vital considering his experience and composure in front of goal. Lionel Messi is as good as ever. He might need to be rotated wisely in order to avoid burnout, and ensure peak physical fitness during season defining games.

Antoine Griezmann is in his peak and will be certainly find it easier to adapt to the demands of his new team. Griezmann’s tremendous technical ability with regard to link up play, runs behind the line and high work rate will certainly be an asset for the Catalans. The Frenchman can further play in several positions, like operating as a mobile striker, in the left wing and attacking midfield.

Credit: Messidejongfcb (IG)

Philippe Coutinho is most likely to return to the Camp Nou. Although he is likely to play in midfield in the next stint, he can be the number 10 in Messi’s absence.

These players prefer to play through the middle, perhaps rightly so. They all can create and score, go on to impact the game more when they are in the middle, rather than out on wings. However as Barcelona play positional football where they need to dominate every grass on the pitch, attacking small spaces and defending wide ones becomes vital.

Opportunity for Ousmane Dembele to step up:

In this scenario, the role of a winger is extremely important. That’s where players like Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati come in. Both are young and dynamic wingers who can stay wide and make off the ball runs, to create space through the middle. They possess tremendous raw ability to take on the opposition players. If Dembele manages to stay fit, he can provide something which Barcelona currently lacks i.e potency in counter attacking situations. Fati has shown glimpses of what he can do despite his young age.

FC Barcelona

The Catalans’ signings before the pandemic further show a lot of promise. The club signed Martin Braithwaite from Leganes in somewhat controversial fashion, and 19-year-old Francisco Trincao from Portugal’s Braga. Braithwaite has a Griezmannesque profile as a player who can play through the wings, but prefers to play centrally with explosive pace to rattle opponents during counter attacks.

Trincao plays on the right wing and has got a deadly left foot. He can act as an inside forward, if the opportunity arises. The wonderkid possesses some flair to his game, and can glide past challenges consistently. Statistically, he is right up there among the other emerging players in terms of creativity.

Alex Collado who can play as a number 8, possesses trickery which is quite rare amongst players coming through the ranks of La Masia. He has impressed Setien during training sessions with the first team, and will have a chance to prove his worth during the preseason.

The wealth of options which Setien enjoys on the attacking front with multiple combinations and players with several characteristics, be it strikers, wingers, number 10s, inside forwards to choose from certainly numbs the pain of Lautaro’s absence.
Written By: Sanket Patil.


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