Opinion: Barcelona must consider key factor if they go for Benjamin Pavard

That Barcelona are not only on the hunt for but in desperate need of a right-back is one of the worst-kept secrets in football. The Blaugrana invested heavily in the summer, spending over €150m to refresh the squad as they try to manage their burgeoning debt. Most of those resources were spent in central defence or up front, areas that needed addressing.

However it did mean others were neglected at the same time. In particular, there has been a call for a renewal in the full-back positions. The Blaugrana brought in Marcos Alonso, but have been fortunate with the leap in development from Alejandro Balde. The 19-year-old has not only won himself a place in the Barcelona squad, but also the starting team and the Spanish national team in the space of three months. It looks as if he will be the long-term option on the left-side.

There is considerably less certainty on the right, where Sergi Roberto and Hector Bellerin bide, although Jules Kounde has often been asked to play there. Roberto is a valid back-up and useful option, while Bellerin has suffered from fitness issues of late, but has failed to show he belongs at Barcelona.

Thus on their limited budget, Barcelona will once again be pursuing a solution to the position this summer. One of the main options mentioned has been French defender Benjamin Pavard. The 26-year-old is out of contract in 2024 and thus it looks as if Bayern Munich might be willing to sell in order to recoup some money for him.

Todofichajes say that Barcelona are in contact with him and that both sides are optimistic about a deal, but without Bayern Munich’s willingness to negotiate, it will mean little.

On the face of it, Pavard looks an excellent signing – he probably would be. Entering his prime, with experience winning both the Champions League and the World Cup, Pavard is strong, and a good defender, he would balance out the attacking forays of Balde on the left.

However there have been a number of rustlings that Pavard is perhaps a trickier personality than first imagined. The French defender has come to something of a stand-off with Bayern Munich after he was dropped, but there were also rumours that was because he was out drinking at the wrong time, leading to an injury In September, he abandoned training frustrated.

Additionally, star winger on the right side Ousmane Dembele seemingly criticised Pavard at the World Cup for his performances. It may well just have been a typical irritation between players, but it does not bode will for Pavard. Didier Deschamps ended up dropping him for Kounde, something Pavard did not appreciate.

Others have said that Pavard’s priority is also to shift into central defence, where he would rather play. That is supposedly one of the reasons he is considering leaving Bayern, who are not willing to move him into the middle.

One would presume that he is willing to play on the right, if Barcelona are interested in signing him to do so. There is also something to be said for taking whispers around a footballer with a decent helping of salt, but it is curious that there are so many surrounding Pavard. Barcelona will do their due diligence and in theory be able to gather a wider picture of Pavard. Alternatively, their limited options may push them towards deals they would ordinarily be less willing to do.

Yet if there is one thing this Barcelona side has going for it, it is spirit. Perhaps lacking in a leader or two, Xavi Hernandez has a young, humble and hungry squad at his disposal. Headed by elite professionals Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Robert Lewandowski, this incarnation of the club is going in the right direction in terms of mentality.

Raphinha, Andreas Christensen, Bellerin, Kounde, Lewandowski, Franck Kessie; all of these summer signings contribute to that spirit, adding different but valuable elements. There is competitive tension within the squad, but the atmosphere, partly due to results, is as good as it has been since Ernesto Valverde’s time in charge.

There are perhaps only hints of evidence that Pavard would be any different, but as Barcelona try to precariously balance the structure for a winning football team, they would do well to pay attention to balance of personalities too.

Tags Barcelona Bayern Munich Benjamin Pavard
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