Analysis: How should Barcelona approach the return of outcast defender?

Ronald Koeman did not get many of his wishes at Barcelona granted, but one of the few players he did get in was Sergino Dest. The Dutch-American right-back arrived for a fee of €21m in 2020, but two-and-a-half years on, he could hardly be further from developing into the long-desired slution in the right-back position at Camp Nou.

Dest was used sparingly in the initial stages of his stay under Koeman, before eventually making the position his own, with mixed results. Dest showed flashes of his skill, pace and technique in his first season, but never really convinced.

Once Koeman left, Dest saw his minutes dramatically drop off. Save for a few games here or there, Xavi Hernandez essentially made it clear that he did not trush the USMNT star. By the time the summer came round, any doubt was removed when Dest was sent out on loan to Milan, with Barcelona instead deciding to sign Hector Bellerin on a free on the last day of the transfer window.

However Dest’s fortunes have not improved in Serie A. He has seen the pitch just 14 times, accumulating only 642 minutes and just four starts. It has become clear that Stefano Pioli does not trust him either. Diario AS also say that they have no intention of activating their €20m buy option at the end of the season.

This represents something of a setback for Barcelona, who were hoping to make money on Dest in the summer. It also lands them with something of a problem.

Xavi is unlikely to want Dest back, and the obvious course of action is to sell Dest onwards. Yet here they might encounter issues too.

With their salary limit squeezing the finances at Camp Nou, selling Dest at a much less than he was bought would only accentuate their issues. If they can find a buyer for a similar amount, Barcelona would no doubt be delighted.

They may be forced to keep Dest as a result of the financial aspect though. It looks as if the only easy solution is to send Dest out on loan again. There they must hope that he vindicates himself and manages to perform, as the longer time stretches between his arrival and him showing his talent, the more his value will drop.

Finding the right loan might be more important than anything else. If they can place him under a manager and in a club where he should work out, even taking a hit by paying slightly more of his wages might work out better long-term. It will take some canny management to stop Dest being remembered as another bit of bad business by Barcelona.

Tags Barcelona Milan Sergino Dest
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