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Barcelona’s youth midfielders get welcome break after Arthur’s teary exit

FC Barcelona v Granada CF - La Liga
The Athletic

The teary farewell of Arthur from Barcelona has left the fans in a state of shock, with some of them venting their frustration out on new signing Miralem Pjanić.

However, the Brazilian’s exit has resulted in an unexpected positive, opening up opportunities for talented midfielders from La Masia like Carles Alena, Riqui Puig, Alex Collado and Monchu.

Barcelona exit for Xavi and Iniesta leaves massive void:

Barcelona has enjoyed some of the best midfielders in the world over the years, but this is the phase of transition. A period which follows the exit of generational talents Xavi and Andres Iniesta. This certainly make it extremely difficult for anyone to fill their shoes straight away.

Panic purchases of players who performed exceptionally well in other systems for big bucks, is not going to help the cause. It only makes sense to look at the options the club already has, with an eye on using them effectively to bring back the long lost midfield stability.

A look at the combinations that resulted in immense success for the club in the past, reveals the necessity for an anchor, a deep lying play-maker and an advanced play-maker. The anchor is the deepest man in the midfield three. He is the one who can break down play and distribute the ball extremely well. A deep lying play-maker is the tempo controller, and the advanced play-maker should be able to break down the opposition defense with a pass or a dribble.

FC Barcelona has Sergio Busquets, Frenkie De Jong, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal as prime options to fill those three midfield spots. Sergio Busquets is the anchorman and the most experienced player in the Barcelona system. De Jong is a talented young gun who played as a number 6 at Ajax, but can perform well in any midfield role if he manages to adapt to the demands.

Rakitic and Vidal are the box to box midfielders who can cover lot of ground, and negotiate the so called “dirty work”. Their future at the club is still uncertain, as it is highly likely that they will make way for the younger players.

There are few more exciting talents who could potentially make it consistently to the first team including players who rose through the ranks of La Masia, the famed Barcelona academy. Carles Alena, Riqui Puig, Alex Collado and Monchu have been consistently rumored to be regular first team players for the 2020-21 season.

Carles Alena was promoted to the first team during the 2018-19 season, but didn’t get much playtime under Ernesto Valverde. He is currently at Real Betis on a loan and is likely to return. Puig, came to limelight with an amazing sombrero on Christian Erikson during a preseason friendly, and he has also received praise from manager Quique Setien following quality performances. Alena, Puig and Collado are attacking midfielders, and fill the profile which the squad currently lacks. They can bring versatility to the Barcelona game.

The Catalan club signed a young prodigy, 17-year-old Pedri from UD Las Palmas who will join the squad in July 2020. The club also has Philipe Coutinho in their ranks, who is the most expensive club signing. Both of these players are number 10s, which the squad doesn’t need on an immediate basis. But they can certainly add some value to the squad.

Coutinho is likely to leave either on loan or on a permanent transfer considering the huge wage bill the club is on already. Pedri will get a preseason with the squad, and whether he stays or not will be decided by Quique Setien.

Even if either Rakitic or Vidal or both leave, the club will still have plenty of options across different profiles to play with. If they leave, young players with high potential will get a lot of playtime which is a long wish of the Blaugrana supporters.

Written By: Sanket Patil


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