FC Barcelona has always prided itself on playing beautiful and attacking football. However, recent seasons have exposed a vulnerability in their squad, particularly in the right-back position. The current right backs in the squad are Sergino Dest, Julian Araujo, Jules Kounde, and Sergi Roberto who currently surplus to requirements, It is evident that the team requires a strong, versatile, and dependable right back. The answer to the club and Xavi’s question might be Manchester City’s Portuguese right back Joao Cancelo. Let’s dissect the current right-back situation at Barcelona, highlight the shortcomings of the existing options, and argue why Joao Cancelo from Manchester City is the ideal candidate to reinforce this crucial position.
Dest: The Promising but Inconsistent Youngster
Sergino Dest arrived at Barcelona with high expectations, being heralded as one of the most promising fullbacks in the world. His pace and skill on the ball make him a formidable attacking threat. However, it is clear that his defensive capabilities are a work in progress, often leaving Barcelona vulnerable on the right flank. While he shows glimpses of brilliance going forward, his attacking output has been inconsistent, leading to doubts about his overall contribution to the team. Moreover, rumors of a lack of trust from the new manager, Xavi, further complicate his situation at the club.
Araujo: A Newcomer with Uncertain Potential
Julian Araujo is a relatively new addition to the Barcelona squad, making it difficult to assess his true potential. His limited appearance in the end-of-season friendly against Vissel Kobe provided little evidence to showcase his abilities. While he may possess the talent required to succeed at the top level, the club cannot afford to rely solely on a relatively unproven player in such a critical position.
Kounde: A Defensive Wall, but a Lackluster Attacker
Jules Kounde’s defensive prowess is undeniable, making him one of the finest defenders in the world. His strength and tactical acumen ensure that opponents find it challenging to break through Barcelona’s defense. However, as a natural center-back, he lacks the attacking instincts required of a modern-day fullback. While a reliable option defensively, Kounde’s limited attacking contributions could hamper Barcelona’s attacking fluidity and width.
Roberto: The Versatile Mediocrity
Sergi Roberto has been a reliable servant to Barcelona, offering versatility to play in multiple positions, including right back. However, his performances in recent seasons have been average, neither excelling defensively nor providing significant attacking impetus. As a result, Barcelona cannot rely on Roberto as their long-term solution for the right-back position if they aspire to compete at the highest level.
The Case for Joao Cancelo
Amidst this right-back conundrum, Joao Cancelo emerges as the ideal candidate to transform Barcelona’s fortunes in this position. At Manchester City, Cancelo has proven himself to be one of the best fullbacks in the world. His defensive capabilities are exceptional, and his ability to nullify attacks and make crucial tackles ensures stability at the back. Additionally, Cancelo’s positional awareness and reading of the game make him a formidable force against the most potent attackers.
Cancelo’s attacking prowess is equally impressive, if not more. He possesses a blistering turn of pace, incredible dribbling skills, and a precise delivery that can cause havoc in the opponent’s defense. His ability to cut inside on his stronger left foot, much like Dani Alves did during his time at Barcelona, would add a new dimension to the team’s attacking play. Moreover, Cancelo’s versatility to play on the left flank also provides tactical flexibility, allowing Xavi to experiment with different formations without compromising defensive solidity.
While signing Joao Cancelo would be a significant step in the right direction, there are undoubtedly obstacles that Barcelona must overcome. Firstly, securing an agreement with the player might be challenging, as Cancelo has established himself as a key figure at Manchester City. Convincing him to leave a successful project under Pep Guardiola may require ambitious promises from Barcelona’s management.
Secondly, negotiating with Manchester City for a transfer or loan deal could be complicated, as the English club is unlikely to part ways with such a valuable asset easily. Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations may also come into play, restricting Barcelona’s ability to make big-money signings. To overcome these hurdles, Barcelona must strategize meticulously and potentially involve player exchanges or other creative solutions in their negotiations.
FC Barcelona’s right-back situation calls for immediate attention and reinforcement. While Dest, Araujo, Kounde, and Roberto not offering the complete package that the club requires. Joao Cancelo, with his defensive prowess, attacking flair, and tactical adaptability, is undoubtedly the missing piece to solidify Barcelona’s right flank. Although the challenges in securing his services may be formidable, the benefits of having a player of his caliber far outweigh the obstacles. Barcelona must act decisively and diligently during the summer transfer window to bring Cancelo and revitalize their right-back position for a bright future under Xavi’s stewardship.