The following is a translation of an opinion piece by Spanish writer Joan Mª Batlle, originally published in Catalan sports daily, Sport, with a few bits and pieces added by totalBarça to spice things up. The original can be found here. Enjoy the read.
The decision has been made: there will be no more signings other than that of Cesc. And if in the end Fàbregas doesn’t come, the money saved will be kept in the strong box in order to land two ‘cracks’ in the coming season, again Cesc, and Neymar can’t be ruled out, considering the events that have passed, which at the moment don’t favor Madrid in their intentions to secure the new Brazilian pearl.
But, actually, the case is that when Guardiola makes a decision, he makes it for a reason. If there are no more signings for the forward line, despite its continuation as the most effective line, it is because he has absolute faith in the youth system. Alexis has come but Bojan has left for the moment. One for the other. And if Jeffren doesn’t leave, it would be because he doesn’t want to, but the reality is that they left the door open for him so he could find a position in another team. So now the team lacks another forward to more calmly face the challenges of La Liga, the Champions League and the Copa Del Rey in the coming season.
It is certain that Ibi Afellay can play on the wing, but he is not an out and out winger. And the first hurdles of the preseason, the injuries, serious enough, certainly, of Jonathan Soriano and the aforementioned Afellay have left the attack short of options for the double duel of the Supercopa de España (Spanish Super Cup) against Madrid. So having one more forward, a good forward, would be useful.
Guardiola, however, doesn’t believe that there is a necessity to invest more in the attack. He is the team’s coach but he thinks like the manager, like the club’s man. And if he sees a talent in the youth football teams, he doesn’t need to waste the money, which in this case would be practically spent in vain. Messi, Pedro, Villa and Alexis guarantee a maximum performance, in theory superior to that of last season, bearing in mind the huge potential of the marvelous Chiliean and Bojan’s bad luck last year. But the season is very long and to win titles, it is necessary that the injuries and the sanctions avoid the players who make and score the goals, those who make the difference and can unbalance the opposition in games.
The four ‘cracks’ are spectacular, but in a team that always plays with three forwards, it is possible that this ‘Fantastic Four’ may not be enough. With this situation in mind, the coaches at Barça already have the next big thing, the phenomenon of the ‘cantera’ in the scene, ready to give his all and an alternative option when needed. I am referring, as you may have guessed, to Gerard Deulofeu, a young lad who is two years ahead of all the other footballers of his generation. Observing that, only seventeen years old, he has won the final of the European Under-19 championship. There, he is among team mates who are much older than him and who have been doing this job for a much longer time, and yet he is the star that shines the most. And in Barça, he has already moved up from the Juvenil team and now plays in Barça B, the penultimate step to reaching the glory of the Camp Nou.
Deulofeu is a diamond in the rough that Guardiola will know how to polish properly. No one knows better than Pep how to treat the young talent. The cases of Pedro and Busquets prove it. And that of Thiago, who is on a tear at the moment and is going on a perfect track, despite the wagging tongues who claimed that Guardiola did not trust him. If Deulofeu, like Thiago, lets Guardiola guide him towards great football, his abilities and talent will multiply by a thousand. And he will be Barça’s fifth attacker this year. Soon you will see…
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