This winter transfer window has seen the usual speculation of who could be going where. One position that seems to be particularly in demand among some of La Liga’s top clubs is at left-back. Meanwhile, Marc Cucurella is tearing up the Premier League after joining Brighton & Hove Albion from Getafe for 18 million euros in the summer.
“I want to single out Marc Cucurella, he’s been a brilliant signing for Brighton,” Michael Owen said on his season so far following another excellent display against Leicester as Brighton continue to exceed expectations.
“If I was Chelsea I would go and get Cucurella,” fellow English pundit Paul Merson added, discussing the Blues interest in the Spanish international in the summer, though he eventually decided to sign for the south-coast club.
Cucurella, previously of Barcelona, would have been the perfect replacement, or at least alternative, to Jordi Alba. Jose Luis Gaya, Alex Moreno, Alex Grimaldo and Nicolas Tagliafico are just four of the men linked with that role now, as Barcelona look back on what they missed out on.
Having sold the Catalan to Getafe for 10 million euros in 2020, they are now looking to spend two to three times as much on a replacement who will require time to get to grips with the Barcelona way of playing.
After six years with Barcelona between the age of 14 and 20, before heading out to Eibar on loan, Cucurella would have been the ideal option. Their lack of patience, desire to cash in, and refusal to rotate with Alba, could cost the club dear as a result.
The other side regularly linked with the full-back was Atletico Madrid. Seemingly the perfect fit for Diego Simeone’s hard-working and athletic full-back, or wing-back, role, it seems bizarre that Atleti did not move for the ideal option.
Now pursuing a bargain deal for Reinildo Mandava from Lille, Cucurella would have been a long-term solution to a problem which was clearly not covered by winger Yannick Carrasco or out-of-favour Renan Lodi.
Arguably, the only Spanish side to do themselves justice with the deal was Getafe. The Azulones had a more than capable deputy in Mathias Oliveira, himself now linked with a 12 million euro move to Napoli, who has stepped up.
Spanish sides were ignorant to not pursue the 23-year-old in the summer, when they could have secured a talent for years to come. Financial restrictions meant that the Premier League had a strong advantage, and no Spanish club was willing to pull out all the stops. Now they’re counting the long-term costs of not doing so.