So far, this transfer window has been damn busy. This time, Barça have activated the contract clause of Emerson Royal. This will bring him to the club for approximately 9 million. This time, things aren’t that clear, for it’s unknown whether Barça view him as an actual option for the future or just a cash cow.
In January 2019, Barça pulled off an unusual deal, as they decided to co-own Emerson with Real Betis, him moving to los verdiblancos until 2021 with Barcelona having the right to buy him for a certain fee. During that time, the Brazilian has acclimated to European football and has shown some promising signs.
In terms of his playing style, Emerson has a clear feature that stands out — physique. In stark contrast to his future competitor, Sergiño Dest, his technique is by no means outstanding, but his determination and speed sometimes make up for that. The same goes for his defending, where his positioning has been questionable. Though not versatile or adaptive, he can certainly do a decent job as a straight-line wingback in Ronald Koeman’s 3-5-2.
Future at Barça?
But his Barça future is in the air, as his continuity depends on various factors. If, for example, we revert to a back 4, there won’t be any room for the Brazilian. Especially given Óscar Mingueza is likely to move to the right-back spot in that case. On the market, Emerson is in demand and, despite Betis having a 50% sell-on clause, we could generate some much needed funds by selling him.
Emerson Royal is still just 22. This suggests that, if Barcelona decide to keep him, they will do so thinking ahead. In terms of raw potential and versatility, he doesn’t get near Dest, but he could come in handy at times. Not a bad reinforcement.