Over this summer several key holes in the squad have been effectively plugged by the sporting sector lead by Mateu Alemany and with input from Xavi. It was evident that last season’s squad was one of the worst in recent memory. This transfer window has seen heavy investment but unlike the previous board the players that have been bought are suitable tactical profiles who will certainly provide upgrades over their counterparts. Several positions such as Centre-back, Striker and Right Wing have been successfully reinforced with smart additions. However, there’s only so much that the board and sporting department can do in a single window. This article will focus on the Left-back position and the current options that are viable.
Alba is the undisputed starter in the Left-back position. Over the last season he has once again proved himself to be world class and even underrated by the football community. He put up 2 goals and 10 assists in La Liga while also being number 1 in passes, key passes, passes into the final third and in pass progression value.
This is where is there is a serious problem. There is a deep drop-off in quality after Alba. Xavi’s team relies on atleast one of the fullbacks pushing high up the pitch, a task which Alba has been more than happy to do. Unfortunately, Jordi Alba is also human. He requires rest and the backup must be ready to go.
He is my personal choice to play backup to Alba. Balde is is a promising, young LB who’s come up through the ranks at La Masia and knows what is required of him. He’s fast and offensively talented albeit still a little raw. He has all the tools to become world class but for that he needs to play and develop. Injuries have also hampered his development. Ideally, Xavi chooses to use him and give him minutes throughout the season. This would also give a clearer idea of whether or not Balde is ready for the biggest stage.
He’s not a natural LB but has played there several times throughout last season. Being only 21 years of age he still has time to show he can live up to his potential. While Dest is not a long term solution to the LB position, he can certainly be used as a backup for one season or atleast until the club bring in another LB.
The Chelsea player is under contract till 2023 but has been constantly linked to Barca. The London club are willing to part with him for a nominal fee and Xavi reportedly wants him. The problem is that he’s 31, slow and clearly not a long term option. It doesn’t make sense to bring him especially when you have younger players with loads of potential.
Other options that the club has been linked to are Jose Gaya(Valencia), Javi Galan(Celta Vigo), Borna Sosa(Stuttgart) and Sergio Reguilon(Tottenham). These are decent options but again the problem here is the club does not want to spend much on a backup. These players all have price tags of between 15M-25M.
The club needs to put it’s faith into our promising academy player. Balde deserves a chance, even more so as he has impressed in preseason.
In recent years we have seen a lack of faith in La Masia. With Xavi taking over as the coach, it is high time we go back to our famed academy. He knows better than anybody about of how important the academy is. It is the backbone of the club.
Everything Barca needs can be found in La Masia.