What began like a rumour a couple of weeks ago has turned out to be reality, with Neymar on the verge of completing a world record £198milion switch from Barcelona to PSG.
The highly talented Brazilian forward is pushing for a move away from the Catalan to the French capital, NOT majorly for the huge financial incentives that will come with it, but because he wants to come out of the shadows of Lionel Messi and be his own man, legend.
Neymar’s potential departure which could officially be announced by both clubs-Barcelona and PSG, in a couple of hours, days, leaves Coach Ernesto Valverde with a huge dilemma to fix with only a few weeks to the commencement of his official managerial career with the European heavyweights.
Historically, Barcelona have been known to complete major transfer signings way before the season starts, to enable the players properly integrate into the total group by having an uninterrupted pre-season training and tour. Thierry Henry, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Luis Suarez all coming to mind.
Barcelona aren’t a club that necessarily embraces the most talented or skilful players. Simply put it, not all expensive signing eventually become successful at the club. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal are examples of big money signings and names failing to grab the headlines, the way they ought to have succeeded.
On the other hand, Ivan Rakitic, a very average footballer, was signed by Barcelona from Sevilla and became an almost perfect fit, slotting in effortlessly into the Catalan club’s first-team, a ‘feat’ which could have made passive football fans mistake him as a product of the famed La Masla academy.
The above analysis is a forehand warning to Barcelona, not to expect any immediate success with any replacement for the about-to-be-departed Neymar. Philipe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Paulo Dybala appear to be the front row candidates to replace the Brazilian in that order, but with an absence of a full pre-season and hurried integration into the team and somewhat complex Barcelona playing style, it might best be advised that Valverde looks inward for a temporary replacement to fill the Neymar void.
Paco Alcacer is the name which readily comes to mind. The centre forward saw limited game time in his debut season last year, but with his elevation to the first-team as a temporary fix, pending the integration of the marquee signing, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi might be forced to take up wide positions, in a bid to accommodate the prolific Alcacer.