Last night’s preseason Clásico was an exciting one for FC Barcelona fans, for several reasons. It turned out to be a spirited, thrilling match that saw the blaugranas win 3-0, for one. Xavi Hernández and his coaching staff must surely have been happy to see the Oriol Romeu-Frenkie de Jong partnership looking quite impressive. And despite it still being preseason, is it possible Fermín López is the next gem coming out of Barça’s legendary academy?
Fermín López played last season for Linares Deportivo, a third-division Spanish side, where he put up 12 goals and 4 assists. Coming into this preseason, Pedri had made comments about López’s standout performances in training. Gavi seems to be taking him under his wing (even though Fermín is older than him). All this has culminated in an unexpected amount of minutes over the first two preseason matches, and Fermín has delivered. Xavi himself confirmed Fermín would not be leaving on loan, and he would spend this season with the first team.
He scored a beautiful goal and notched a creative assist against Real Madrid. His movement off the ball was crisp, and his passing was quick. His footballing intelligence was on display, as was his passion:
He’s a right-footed interior midfielder, with an offensive mindset. He can also dribble well and associate himself well with his teammates. Fermín is a playmaker; a player who doesn’t fit neatly into any positional rigidity and who floats around a lot on the pitch.
Doesn’t this sound familiar?
Xavi and his staff have been asking for a player like this for weeks now, whether it be Giovanni Lo Celso, Bernardo Silva, or someone else. They’ve considered it an important missing piece in the squad. It seems Bernardo Silva would be financially untenable right now. Lo Celso would be an underrated option, but his arrival may require the departure of Franck Kessié or Clément Lenglet.
Counting on Fermín may not be the best option at the moment, but he’s certainly shown a lot of promise. Additionally, this would help Barça fill other positions of need – at the fullbacks. A right-back like Iván Fresneda or Arnau Martínez would be a massive upgrade over the likes of Sergiño Dest, and would allow Jules Koundé and Ronald Araújo to play at center-back more often. Plus, surely the Catalans could find a better backup for Alejandro Balde than Marcos Alonso.
Fresneda’s release clause is set at €20 million, but Barça are said to be negotiating with Valladolid to bring that down with incentives. Would that money be better spent on a right-back, or on another midfielder?
If Barcelona focus on their fullback positions and reinforce those, then the arrival of someone like Lo Celso would be even more complicated. But would that be such a bad thing if they have Fermín López?
Fermín has been turning heads all summer long, and he may have just put himself onto the world stage with his performance last night. With players like Pedri, Gavi, Gündoğan, and Frenkie de Jong, can the young Andalusian provide depth throughout the season? No one would be expecting him to start, but he can certainly help out in spots.
Personally, I believe he should be given a chance, especially since there are positions in the squad that are in much more dire need of upgrading.
What do you think? Should we slow our roll with the recent hype around Fermín, or would Barça be better off giving him minutes and shoring up other positions?