Analysis: Why Benjamin Pavard is a good fit for the Barcelona right-back spot

Barcelona appear to have come to terms with the fact that they will not have a new right-back before the end of the season.

Manager Xavi Hernandez asked the club not to make significant changes to his squad during the winter window. Which will no doubt have suited the club well, as both Joan Laporta and Jordi Cruyff have made it clear that the chances of significant recruitment in January are slim.

If there is one position in which Xavi might have want to strengthen, it would be right-back. The two options currently there are Hector Bellerin and Sergi Roberto, but neither convince as an option for the biggest games. That much was evidenced by the fact that Xavi still started Jules Kounde on the right side while both were available in September. The same happened with Alejandro Balde playing on the opposite side of the pitch to his usual left-back spot in November.

Come summer though, the Blaugrana will likely be on the hunt for a long-term solution there. Bellerin and Roberto are both out of contract, although the latter has a chance of staying. Balde will develop primarily as a left-back and Kounde has made it clear he wishes to play in the middle.

One of the names they have been linked to is Benjamin Pavard. The French World Cup-winner is out of contract in 2024, but appears set on leaving Bavaria as soon as possible. Relations have broken down with Bayern Munich. Fichajes say that Xavi is keen on bringing Pavard in. Any deal might be tricky though, as they will be in no rush to sell Pavard, even if his price will drop due to his contract situation. They will also face competition, including from Atletico Madrid. Sport say his price tag could be around €15m.

The player himself wants to leave the club and he would work well in the soon to be vacant spot at Barcelona. Before Xavi arrived on the bench, there was plenty of discussion about whether he would opt for a 3-4-3 formation. It was a shape he toyed with at various points last season, at times dropping Jordi Alba or Sergi Roberto alongside the defenders.

Pavard would be equally adept at either playing on the right side of a three or a four. In fact, as most sides look to be as flexible as possible, often one of the full-backs will be more conservative, allowing a manager to use a four or a three throughout the game. The other will look to give width in attack. Opposite Alba, Alejandro Balde or Marcos Alonso, Pavard could sit deeper perfectly.

This is not to say that he cannot get forward well either. Although he is not as renowned for his technical ability, Pavard is dynamic, uses the ball well and is a physical presence.

In terms of a footballing fit, the 26-year-old would provide Xavi with the hybrid option he seems so keen on. Especially with wider players often high and wide under Xavi, Pavard could push inside.

Where there may be an issues is his fit with the dressing room. Although unconfirmed, Pavard has reportedly had disagreements at both Bayern Munich and with France. Equally, if it is true that he will prioritise playing at centre-back, then that may well kill off their hopes of signing him.

Tags Barcelona Bayern Munich Benjamin Pavard
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