Barcelona seem to have a history of bizarre decisions off the pitch which can almost disintegrate what was once the greatest side in the world. It happened under Frank Rijkaard; Louis Van Gaal had his struggles towards the end of his tenure and it’s happening once again.
Where has it gone wrong?
From having the greatest striking trio the world had ever seen in Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, it was just Messi against Real Betis last night. The greatest ever looked cut a lonely figure, despite the 2-0 victory.
Behind that front three, Barcelona also had the greatest ever midfield trio in Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Sergio Busquets with a prime Ivan Rakitic as another option. Xavi has since gone, and all three of Rakitic, Iniesta and Busquets are ageing. No player can last forever, but this is where the Catalan club shoots themselves in the foot.
They have filled the squad with average players, who do not fit the Barcelona DNA. Arda Turan has always been a square peg in a round hole at Barcelona, and Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez aren’t good enough. The signing of Paulinho is arguably the most bizarre in transfer history.
Not only that, La Masia has gone into a lull in terms of producing players good enough for the first team. Barcelona’s reputation off the pitch is being damaged as are performances on it whilst hated rivals Real Madrid are proving themselves to be the best side in Europe.
However, despite the problems, Barcelona still have a depth of world-class talent and are only two signings away from becoming serious challengers to Real Madrid once again.
They are Jean Seri and Ousmane Dembele.
Starting with the latter, Dembele could be Barcelona’s most important transfer in recent history if it goes ahead. Losing Neymar was a catastrophe both on the field and off of it for Barcelona. Signing a player similar in style is crucial and Dembele is the one who fits the bill. Of course, the Frenchman isn’t as good as the Brazilian yet and may never be.
Nevertheless, Barcelona are desperately lacking the pace, skill and quality from out wide that Neymar brings. Barcelona no longer have that outlet that can draw players towards him and allow the likes of Messi and Suarez to flourish.
Dembele has proven in the last two seasons what a phenomenal talent he is. He is exceptional at carrying the ball past players with speed and is ambidextrous, meaning he can go inside and outside of the opposition, similar to Neymar. He registered 18 assists for Borussia Dortmund last season. That number would only increase laying off chances for Messi and co. Barcelona needs to bite the bullet and pay what the Germans are asking for. No other player can replace Neymar’s style and Ballon D’Or potential.
The Nice Guy
The Ivorian has seemingly come out of the blue after a magnificent season in France last year. However, the Barcelona midfield has been built on possessing players who constantly show for the ball, and are able to control the tempo of a game, passing vertically and incisively through the lines. Michael-Seri fits the bill.
The 26-year-old is extremely intelligent and always make the right decision on the ball. You only need to see a few minutes of footage of the player to see he is a ‘Barcelona player’. With the influence of Rakitic waning and the bizarre addition of Paulinho, it is vital Barcelona recruit a player of Seri’s style and quality if they wish to maintain their famous DNA and playing style.
And if Barcelona needed any more convincing of his purchase, legend Xavi gave a glowing review of Seri, claiming he was “hallucinated” by his play on the football pitch and how the playmaker has “the Barca DNA”.
So then, in a chaotic summer, Barcelona need to prove they have finally learnt their lesson. Signing these two would go a long way to proving it.
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