Analysis: How should Barcelona address their pivot problems?

Barcelona lost a significant player during the summer, with Sergio Busquets deciding against signing a new contract at the club he had been with for 18 years. He opted to join Inter Miami, where he is playing alongside ex-Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba.

Busquets had been Barcelona’s number one pivot for 15 years, and he excelled in the role. His game-awareness, ability to beat the press and passing qualities made him one of – if not the best – defensive midfielder in the world.

As a result of their precarious finances, Barcelona were unable to sign a high-level replacement for Busquets in the summer, instead opting for Oriol Romeu, who joined from Girona in a low-cost operation. The 32-year-old is very much a short-term option, while the club looks to sort out its finances.

Romeu has impressed at stages, but as Diario AS has eluded to, there have been growing concerns about his performances, with his latest showing against Porto leaving much to be desired for Barcelona’s hierarchy.

The problem for Barcelona is that Romeu is their only natural single pivot. Ilkay Gundogan can slot in to form a double-pivot role, which he did to some success against Porto, but the German international is arguably more effective further forward. Frenkie de Jong can also be deployed there, but he is injured for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps understandably, Barcelona are looking to sign a second pivot in January, although it will be very difficult given their poor finances. Guido Rodriguez is one name being considered, as his Real Betis contract expires next summer. As such, he could be signed on a cut-price deal in January, or for free at the end of the season.

Barcelona also want to sign a long-term pivot, which makes complete sense given that Romeu is only a short-term option. Sporting Director Deco has his eye on Gabriel Moscardo, with the 18-year-old being a highly-rated prospect in Brazil. However, he is only likely to join next summer, and is not expected to be a regular starter right away.

There is substance to the fact that some of the criticism for Romeu comes from the fact that he has replaced Busquets. Now many players in world football could live up to him, so it’s unfair to draw comparisons between the two. He has done a good job on the whole, but there is no doubt that he is limited in some aspects.

For squad depth purposes, another pivot should be signed in January, and World Cup winner Rodriguez is a very good option, especially considering the probable price. However, it remains to be seen whether Barcelona are able to get a deal done.

Tags Arthur Vermeeren Barcelona Gabriel Moscardo Guido Rodriguez Oriol Romeu
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