Rakitic, con el futuro en el aire

Barcelona's overpopulation in midfield...

OPINION

@LluisMascaro

The overpopulation of midfielders at Barcelona is a double-edged sword for Ernesto Valverde. The coach has, at the moment, 11 players with different profiles that can play in the middle: Sergio Busquets, Rakitic, Coutinho, Sergi Roberto, Arthur, Arturo Vidal, Denis Suarez, Rafinha, Samper, Aleña and Riqui Puig. The first three are expected to start most games in a 4-3-3. Arthur and Vidal are the two new signings, offering talent and experience. The Chilean was signed for the 4-4-2 which will be used in difficult games to avoid shipwrekcs like the one suffered in Rome last season.  

And Sergi Roberto, taking advantage of his versatility, can act as a full-back or a midfielder. There's not much room, then, for the rest. Therefore, Barça are desperately looking for an exit for Rafinha (possibly a loan to Real Betis) and for Sergi Samper so that they can try to give some minutes to Aleña and Puig, thinking not only of the future but also of the present. Denis Suarez is the perfect back-up: if he's on the bench he doesn't complain and if he plays he does his job. He is not a problem for Valverde -- the opposite. 

So many players (and such diverse profiles) for midfield allows Valverde to vary his tactics. But there will always be three or four that play more than the others. And that's where the coach's work is key: convincing the rest that they're important to maintain a healthy competition. But with 11 options, that's almost impossible. There has to be work done to lower that number before the transfer window closes, to make sure there are no unmotivated players in the sqaud. One week remains to finalise deals. And nothing is being ruled out. Even Rakitic moving to PSG and Rabiot coming the other way. However, moves for De Jong and Pogba are impossible. At least this summer... 


 

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