In recent weeks, Hector Bellerin – Spanish Intentional and ex – La masia prodigy – was linked to a move back to the Camp Nou. Sources close to Marca newspaper said that Barcelona are interested in bringing Bellerin on loan for a season. They prefer that rather than opting to pay the €30 million price tag. Rumours have started to circulate around Bellerin’s possible transfer, as a result of Portuguese international and current right back for Barcelona, Nelson Semedo.
Semedo’s recent performances, most notably his performance in the 8-2 defeat, caused frustration among many culers and fans. Most asking the Blaugrana to sell him. Therefore in this article, we shall be making a comparison with both players, analysing both their strengths, and their weaknesses.
If we were to look at recent seasons and individual performances between the two, one could argue that Nelson Semedo staying at Barcelona, would be a better option then buying Hector Bellerin. One significant reason for this argument is the fact that Bellerin has been plagued by many injuries in recent years. Up until the year 2018, while Bellerin had suffered only minor injuries, i.e. groin injury or ankle injuries, the vigour and energy of the premier league took its toll on the Spanish International; with a cruciate ligament rupture taking him out for about a season. For Barcelona- who already have a significant issue with injured players- potentially buying a vulnerable right-back is not really the way to go, especially in the most important parts of the season.
On the contrary, if one were to look at Nelson Semedo, while injuries have indeed impeded his progression. A muscle injury took him out for a month in the 19/20 campaign. But he has not been as badly affected as Bellerin has. Therefore, if one were to count on a consistent right-back, who may be available in most matches and would not risk potentially injuring themselves, Semedo takes the win.
Based on individual quality however, Bellerin grew up understanding the way of FC Barcelona. He has in built the ‘Barca DNA’ that many players constantly talk about. Bellerin was always one of the best and most talented players coming out of Arsenal. However, the foundations that were set for him to succeed were built in La Masia. His offensive strength and aggressiveness on the pitch, far outweighs that of Nelson Semedo.
His speed and dynamism down the line helps to create space, intensity and many chances. He created over 25 assists in 205 appearances for the Gunners. While it could be argued that Semedo is indeed respectable at offensive attacks. He often helps the wingers by running in from behind, but Semedo lacks that aggression and intensity that Bellerin has. In modern day football, intensity is such an integral part of the game. Therefore, this is where Bellerin can fill in the hole that Dani Alves left, leaving the club in 2016.
Despite complementing both players offensive traits however, what makes the full all rounded right back, is their ability to defend. Now over recent years, Barcelona’s biggest problem has been their defensive system. Rather than the club looking at the defensive whole, and how each player can help each other, Barcelona have been too focused on individual brilliance. The likes of Lucas Digne, Aleix Vidal and Douglas to name a few, have been clear examples of this; victims of both technical mismanagement, and false promises.
Both weak at defence
The weakness here, is also evident in both Semedo and Bellerin, which is their ability to defend. While Bellerin may be very talented and exciting as a player, there’s doubts on if his defensive work will be able to achieve the great heights that Barcelona demand; considering that Arsenal have the worst defensive record in the premier league. Both Semedo and Bellerin are quite weak in their positioning. While they both may run up the line, create short passes and aid in attack, they leave many spaces open behind them; thus creating many areas for opponents to exploit.
Therefore, would signing a talented right-back, who is injury prone and does not really have a solid defensive foundation, help Barcelona’s defence? No one knows the answer to this question, but looking at both players and analysing both their strengths and weaknesses, it could be argued that Hector Bellerin would bring to Barca, similar features that Semedo already has. Nothing better, but nothing worse.