One transfer, the arrival of 21-year-old forward Ferran Torres has gripped the Barcelona fanbase this entire January window. The Spanish international has always been a highly rated prospect but nobody would’ve predicted the young forward becoming one of the faces of Barca’s new rebuild.
Reason 1; The Ferran Torres Transfer Shows Barcelona Haven’t Lost Their Identity
The departure of Lionel Messi finally forced Barca to face the financial reality of so many bad transfer windows. The squad early on this season felt lifeless under Koeman, the arrival of Xavi and the breakthrough of some younger players has helped raise the mood but many questions still surround Barca due to their current mess. Through the transfer of Torres Barca are showing they will still follow club principles even in crippling debt. Torres fits the identity of Barca, he is young, technically gifted, Spanish and excited to play for the club. This is a stark contrast to the older, more expensive signings of Barca’s recent past. Torres isn’t just a “now” signing like Griezmann, this is a long-term project both sides(player and club) are all in on.
Barca was once a breeding ground for Europe’s elite, the constant need to compete forced the club to take up a new financial identity similar to other “win-now” clubs like Real Madrid, Chelsea or PSG. The club was spending for short-term gain and never considered the long-term ramifications. This is completely anti-Barca, the La Masia project that produced Messi-Pedro-Busquets was planned years away from each player making their debut. Through the Ferran Torres transfer Barca are showing they’re back to taking the long view in how they do business.
Reason 2; Ferran Torres Could Be A Special Player
It’s great Ferran Torres fits Barca from a club tradition standpoint but the real magic in this transfer is in how promising Ferran Torres actually is as a prospect. The first thing to note is a level of finishing ability unusual for his age;
Torres has a certain natural composure in front of the goal. This has many scouts projecting a rich goal-laden career for the young forward. It was hard for me to project Torres outside a Pep system but the fact he now plays for Barca/Spain he’ll never have to worry about playing in a system that doesn’t suit him.
To touch on the negatives Ferran Torres is not an all-around player right now. He struggles with ball circulation (link-up with teammates), is not a strong dribbler, does not possess dynamic burst to beat a defender and struggles to create. These may seem like heavy negatives but Torres is only 21 years of age and has been receiving a premier football education (Valencia, City, Barca and Spain) his entire life.
Ball circulation gets better with age and increased chemistry/synergy with teammates, he does not need to be a strong dribbler to be a productive goal forward(CR7 now), at Barca he’ll play in the opposition half majority of the time reducing the need for Jamie Vardy type breaking speed off the last man and at Barca he’ll never be asked to be a strong creator as the Tiki-Taka system shares the creative burden across the whole team. The only major negative is Ferran Torres has to develop into a prolific gunman #9. He’s not very versatile so he almost has to develop into a consistent scoring #9 to have a guaranteed weekly starter role.
More successful big figure signings like Ferran Torres mixed in with Pedri type bargain bin hit transfers and a functional La Masia will see Barcelona return back to their competitive best sooner rather than later.