FC Barcelona are in a rare situation as the La Liga season comes to a close – up 13 points on second place in the league and with some room for error in their upcoming matches. If everything goes according to plan, they’ll be able to clinch the league title on May 14th against Espanyol. While this sounds great, Barça are in an odd place right now. There isn’t a general consensus among the fan base at the moment; it seems no one really can agree on how to feel about this season so far. While it is impressive that Barcelona have had such league success, many claim (correctly, I feel) that this version of the team could not be competitive in Europe. It’s still great progress, some will say. Others will say it’s not good enough.
The rumors coming out around their summer transfer plans are… interesting, to say the least. It’s quite clear that several of their players haven’t quite been up to snuff this season. However, to many, it seems that Barça are betting on the wrong kinds of players to reinforce the squad.
Let’s take a look at a few players that Barça are rumored to be interested in. First off, Yannick Carrasco, the Belgian winger from Atlético Madrid. While he’s not a bad player, is he their best option? The short answer, and one that most Barça fans would agree with, is: no. He has been showing signs of decline, and he’ll be 30 by the time next season really ramps up. Anyway, they already have a player on loan that will be returning next season, one that’s been turning heads recently with his style of play. 21-year old Abde Ezzalzouli. He’s been wonderful for Osasuna this season, helping get them to the final of the Copa Del Rey. He’s fresh off a beautiful brace last weekend as the latest example of his recent stellar play. He’s bold and can dribble past defenders (something Barcelona desperately need right now). Another option that would be better than Carrasco at this point would be Marcus Thuram. While not as pure a winger, he’s young, talented, and more versatile.
Speaking of Vitor Roque, it seems more unlikely that Barcelona will be able to sign him. In my opinion, however, that would be a great signing. He’s shown his quality in big matches for Brazil, and he’s a profile they don’t really have in the squad right now. As far as that signing goes, pull the trigger. Despite this, there’s been a faint rumor that keeps popping in and out of the news: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. It’s said he would like to return to Barcelona, as his Chelsea stint hasn’t worked out. In my opinion, the 33-year-old striker isn’t worth re-signing, even if he is a good guy in the locker room. He was good for Barcelona, but the time to sign a player like him is past.
Another player that doesn’t need to be signed this summer: João Cancelo. He would be much too expensive for Barça at this stage and age of his career. He had several incidents at Manchester City that saw his playing time reduced, and the same seems to be happening at Bayern Munich. If Barcelona want to be at the level of those teams, they don’t need players that can’t find playing time there. While the Blaugrana do need a right-back, they have no further to look than within Catalonia. Girona right-back Arnau Martínez is 19, has experience playing within Barcelona’s system, and has already played with players like Alejandro Balde growing up. He’s versatile and can hold his own defensively. €20M, and Barcelona can have him. Even someone like Juan Foyth would be a better option if the price for him wasn’t so high.
A player like Ilkay Gündoğan is amazing and would fit in well with Barcelona, but he’s 32 years old. Sofyan Amrabat and Bernardo Silva, however, are 26 and 28 respectively. That potential at that age is quite exciting.
This is why it’s so important that Barça wrap up this La Liga season as quickly as possible. If they do manage to stamp their name on the trophy against Espanyol, they would have 4 more matches afterwards. Players like Pablo Torre, Ángel Alarcón and maybe even (longshot) Lamine Yamal could find themselves in the squad for those more or less meaningless games. The underuse of someone like Pablo Torre this season has been nothing short of criminal, and points to a deeper issue in the squad and the coaching staff. Why play someone like Sergi Roberto over him in a match where goals need to be scored? Roberto is a known commodity, and not a particularly great one. Torre has shown shades of Pedri in the short time he’s played, has tons of potential, and is more creative than Sergi – something they need right now.
On another note, in these possibly meaningless matches, players like Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres should start every game. It’s imperative that Xavi and his coaching staff determine once and for all if they’re good enough to stay in this squad.
Barcelona would have plenty of veteran leadership on the pitch and in the locker room with Robert Lewandowski, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, and possibly Lionel Messi. They wouldn’t be lacking for experience in big matches either, as Pedri, Ronald Araújo, Gavi, Jules Koundé, and other youngsters have played in plenty of those. With the season beginning to wind down, I can only hope that Barcelona will make the right choice in the games remaining and in the summer. They must look to the future and bet on young talent, even if sometimes they swing and miss.