Nicolás González Iglesias, the 21-year-old F.C. Barcelona player, is set to move to F.C. Porto in Portugal very soon. He has not traveled with Barcelona for the preseason tour, indicating his imminent departure. Once hailed as La Masia’s new Golden Boy, destined to replace Busquets seamlessly. But he now finds his way out of his beloved home club. Nico has made 27 league appearances for Barcelona, scoring 2 crucial goals. According to multiple reports, Nico is set to leave Barca permanently for a fee of less than 10 million Euros. The club will keep a buy-back clause that will increase exponentially year by year. A beneficial aspect for both Barca and Nico himself.
Initially a defensive single-pivot midfielder, Nico has developed into a box-to-box midfielder during his loan stint at Valencia. Although he had a successful loan spell last season, it may or may not have contributed to his days at Barcelona being numbered. Interestingly, Xavi, who spoke to Nico about looking for another club, was the same person who insisted Nico stay last year. Xavi wanted him to develop under Sergio Busquets, which might have been possible due to the injuries Barcelona faced in the midfield area. However, Nico decided to take a risk and went to Valencia for more playing time, which was not the right team to develop his career, considering the drama Valencia was in last year with its board.
The right decision to let him go?
Barcelona, preparing for Nico’s departure this season, is not benefiting from the deal except financially, which was the main reason for selling him in the first place. Despite not fully developing into the position Xavi desired, Nico is still a valuable player who could contribute to the team. Barcelona currently has five starting midfielders, allowing them to use different midfield setups for match days. However, under Xavi, a 4-man midfield setup has been preferred, leading to success in terms of fluid and creative football. Yet, this approach also caused fatigue and injuries, leaving the team short on midfield options during crucial matches last season.
Sergi Roberto predominantly and even Eric Garcia was utilized as makeshift midfielders in such situations. Nico’s departure could potentially have a similar effect this season. It might lead to Sergi Roberto’s return to midfield even after a single injury to an important player. Despite the arrivals of Gundogan and Oriol Romeu, this scenario could still occur. This is a concern given Barcelona’s history with injuries. Having Nico as not only a backup but also a starter in some matches would provide a boost to the team without any injury concerns.
Regarding Nico’s transfer to F.C. Porto, this seems like a good move, especially for Porto, as they are acquiring a potential elite midfielder for less than 10 million euros. However, the effect on Nico himself may differ. Porto is said to be signing the young Argentinian defensive midfielder prospect, Alan Varela, for a higher price than Nico. This might mean that Nico will not play in his preferred position, potentially hindering his career resurgence. Despite this, Nico has the attributes to succeed in a new role. Furthermore, his physical presence in midfield will be highly valuable for any team, especially Porto. It’s a positive move for Porto and Nico’s future, but it leaves football enthusiasts curious about what could have been for him at Barcelona. It will always be one of those football mysteries.