Barcelona may have to look at alternatives for injured €70m player


Barcelona's Dutch midfielder #21 Frenkie de Jong (R) celebrates with teammates scoring his team's third goal with teammates during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Getafe CF at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys in Barcelona on February 24, 2024.
Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

In time, FC Barcelona will have to begin their preparations for next season on the field as well. At the moment, much of the focus remains on the things that can be solved away from the field first. This includes various financial and structural objectives for Barcelona, and they are the current priority of the club.

However, not too long from now, Barcelona will be back on the field to finally begin training and preparing under their new leadership. The players will be greeted by the man replacing former head coach Xavi Hernandez, Hansi Flick, and the German coach’s new training regime may be different from that of the former Barcelona coach.

Unfortunately for Flick, there may be a major casualty that he will have to begin preparations keeping in mind. Frenkie De Jong, one of Flick’s major keys for next season, currently sees his preseason involvement as compromised due to the issue persisting with his ankle and the chances of it becoming a chronic problem.

In light of this unfortunate news, Hansi Flick will need to rely on alternative options. According to SPORT, the Barcelona coach is fortunate enough to have a squad depth that allows him to use some versatile players out of their conventional roles and also possibly make use of some youth players.

One of the options that Flick could make use of would be derived directly from Xavi’s tactics. That would be the deployment of Andreas Christensen as one-half of the expected double-pivot that the German coach may end up using as his primary set-up. Given the Danish star’s ability to adapt to that position and deliver good performances as a single pivot last season, it could be a good option.

Another option that can be used in that position is Ilkay Gundogan. Fortunately for Hansi Flick, there is a background that connects both the Germans and they have experience of working with each other. However, it is also true that the 33-year-old Barcelona star operates best as an attacking midfielder, and that is the same issue with Flick’s next best option.

Pedri, the 21-year-old Golden Boy winner with Barcelona, is one of Flick’s other alternatives. However, just like Gundogan, the young Spaniard often plays his best football in more advanced roles and that would be the best chance for Flick to get the most out of his young star.

However, Marc Casado may be the perfect option on paper for such a role. Already a youth player and a proven defensive midfielder, Casado would slot into that position naturally and should be the player given an opportunity since a first-team player may be unavailable and this is exactly what the club renewed him for.

Other options like Sergi Roberto and Oriol Romeu are present too, but their futures at Barcelona are heavily uncertain at the moment. Thus, it becomes a bit more feasible for the club to consider the players that they already do have at their disposal. Gavi is also a suitable candidate for this task, but his recovery will also take at least a few more months.

Joshua Kimmich, should he arrive, would also be a strong contender. Given that he remains one of Flick’s personal bets, he would be a great fit from a positional perspective. However, at least for now, Barcelona do not have the finances to guarantee his signature and they are already focusing most of their time on trying to sign one of Spain’s biggest breakout stars.

Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun is a life-long fan of FC Barcelona and an avid enjoyer of all things Blaugrana. Having fallen in love with the club for the way they defined football for him, he now spends his time watching games, analyzing the happenings in them, and digesting any and everything related to his beloved Catalan club. He also writes as an author for Barca News Network hoping to deliver the latest updates to his fellow ‘culés’.

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