FC Barcelona has a plethora of attacking talent, however, the club’s backline is at a crossroads. While the fullback situation of the team is quite solid with the likes of Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba holding those spots down, the centre-back situation is rather unstable. Indeed, there are two primary factors that can be decoded to explain the centre back dilemma.
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Firstly, the centre-backs who were once a staple for the club have lost form. The first centre-back on the brink is Clement Lenglet, who has recently been linked to Premier League club Everton. Lenglet was once a first-choice centre-back for the club, but poor performances spanning back to the 2019-20 season have put his role into question, as both his confidence and form have depleted greatly.
Alongside Lenglet, fellow Frenchmen Samuel Umtiti has also lost his status as first-choice centre-back, and although the club would like to offload him, reports claim Umtiti wants to stay in the club, and earn the high wages that have hurt the club financially. The fact that these two centre-backs have been progressively outcast by the club outline negative impacts to both the play and wage bill of the club.
Lenglet and Umtiti cause problems on the pitch and the wage bill for Barcelona
The second reason that explains the dilemma, is the experience disparity between the centre-backs. Gerard Pique is still an anchor for the club, however, age has been reducing his speed off-ball, and it is not fair to count on him to be the star centre-back for the club. Whereas Pique represents experience, the other primary centre-backs, Ronald Araujo, Oscar Mingueza and the newly acquired Eric Garcia, are far too young and lack meaningful, winning experience. This leads to an age disparity where one is very experienced (but is losing form with age), while the others are young and in need of effective experience. This depletes the synergy, efficiency and communication between the club’s centre-backs.
For a Barca club that looks to win multiple titles, the centre-back situation is crucial, as almost all title-winning clubs are built around stable defences. This is surely a situation that the Catalan club will monitor closely.