Opinion: Competition is a further sign that Barcelona should avoid Thomas Meunier

Barcelona’s struggles to find a long-term option at right-back have led to some local media referring to the position as ‘cursed’. The likelihood is it will be a key topic during the upcoming January transfer window.

One of the names that has been revolving around Barcelona for over 12 months is Thomas Meunier. At 31 years of age, Meunier has plenty of experience at the top level, having spent the last six years of his career at Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain.

He also confirmed Barcelona’s interest last January, but Dortmund’s demands were too much for Barcelona. With his contract up in 2024, Dortmund may try to make a sale either in January or the summer. As per Mundo Deportivo, Manchester United, Juventus, Milan and two further Premier League clubs are also interested.

Meunier might be the easiest option to come in at right-back. There is also no doubt that the Blaugrana are looking for a short-term solution at the position. That was illustrated by the signing of Hector Bellerin on a one-year deal in the summer.

With much of the rest of the squad deemed good enough to challenge for honours, Barcelona are merely looking for a defender to provide serviceable play. All in all, a right-back that will not be a vulnerability, as it has been for so long.

Yet Meunier’s signing would be committing to a player who is in the latter years of their career. Like Arturo Vidal, Junior Firpo, Miralem Pjanic, Emerson Royal and potentially Marcos Alonso, Meunier would be a band aid on the position.

Barcelona likely do not believe that Meunier would be much of an asset to their side, rather he would be a solid option. Like the above mentioned players, all arrived at Barcelona with the thought that they could ‘do a job’ for a while, to varying degrees of success.

Vidal was useful for a time, but eventually succumbed to a system that did not function, appearing heavily in the pictures as Barcelona lost 8-2 to Bayern Munich. The others never became more than bench options and were sold on for a loss, with the exception of Emerson. That would not be the case for Meunier.

The reason for Barcelona’s concerns at the position is not the attacking output – Meunier’s strength – but rather the ability to compete in defence. While Meunier might be an upgrade on the current options, the holes in Barcelona’s system will likely leave him exposed at times too.

The short-termism of the move will prevent the Blaugrana from investing properly in the position down the line. As was the case with Alonso and Bellerin, the temptation with defenders is to fill out the squad with cheaper options, which leads to the situation they currently find themselves in.

Returning to the host of teams that are also pursuing Meunier, they will drive up the price of any deal, both in terms of transfer fee and wages. Competing with the Premier League sides would likely mean overpaying for a veteran that is no guarantee of top level performance.

While Barcelona are in a much trickier spot in terms of their ability to recruit, there is a reason that Paris Saint-Germain pursued Achraf Hakimi at such expense. Meunier was present in many of their failings in the Champions League that have haunted PSG so often – the exact same fixtures for which Barcelona would be recruiting him for. Meunier would be a tempting way of ticking a box for Barcelona. His signing would be characteristic of the previous regime under Josep Maria Bartomeu though.

Tags Barcelona Borussia Dortmund Thomas Meunier
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