5 FC Barcelona Players who have a make or break season

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FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona kickstarts their La Liga season on 27 September; they have many things to prove. After failing at the big stage for years, Barca has its task cut out. But as Barca is vying to assert their dominance again on the big stage, some players have a point to prove.

As Barca spent a considerable amount of money on signings players, almost none of which have worked out. From no place to fit in, to encountering injury problems, these players have a big season ahead of them. This article review 5 players who have a make or break season forth of them and explores what should be expected ahead of the season.

Phillipe Coutinho

Phillipe Coutinho – The most expensive signing in the history of Barca

In the summer of 2018, FC Barcelona signed Coutinho from Liverpool after speculations that were going on for more than a year. Since then, Liverpool went on to win the Premier League and even the Champions League. The biggest irony in all this was that Coutinho while joining Barca said he wants to win the Champions League.

In the 2018-19 season, Liverpool knocked out Barca in the semi-final stage of the competition. Coutinho was on the losing side. At the start of 2019 season, Coutinho joined Bayern Munich on a season-long loan deal and went on to win the UCL with Bayern. With all this said, the party which has lost in all this has been FC Barcelona.

As Coutinho returns to FC Barcelona and with Koeman’s confidence, is this the season where he can work his magic alongside Messi? With being the most expensive signing that FC Barcelona ever made, the pressure is enormous. With 8 goals and 6 assists in the Bundesliga for Bayern, Coutinho is running out of time to prove himself at Barca.

Antoine Greizmann

Griezmann has a big season ahead of him

Antoine Griezmann joined FC Barcelona in the summer of 2019 from Atletico Madrid and let say he hasn’t performed at the level what was expected from him. Its never easy for a player to adapt to new coaches midseason, but it was never the reason for Griezmann’s performances.

Griezmann hasn’t given top performances as he used to do in Atletico and hasn’t worked in the Barca system. Griezmann is not a No 9, but he can play as a false 9 or a No 10. While in Barca, Messi holds the No 10 role and Griezmann didn’t fit in the system. With Suarez playing regularly, Griezmann didn’t get his chance to combine with Messi.

As Suarez has left FC Barcelona, this might be the season Griezmann has the most number of chances for Barca. As it is very evident, Koeman will deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation with a front four consisting of Messi, Griezmann, Coutinho and a natural winger.

This can help Barca always to have players who can transit to different positions in between the matches. As in the Gamper Trophy, Griezmann and Messi were constantly switching positions in between a false 9 and a No 10.

As Koeman pitches for a change, Griezmann will play a significant role in it. FC Barcelona can’t sign a No 9 as the economic condition is dreadful and Griezmann doesn’t have that much competition. This should motivate Griezmann to give his best and prove why he was bought for over 100 million euros.

Ousmane Dembele

Dembele - FC Barcelona

Injuries have halted Dembele’s growth at Barca. In the summer of 2017, FC Barcelona took a big step and signed 21-year-old Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund. Not just that, the fee that Barca paid was astronomical. Barca just sold Neymar to PSG for 222 million euros and invested more than half of it on Dembele. For a 21-year-old to come to Barca with that price and fill in the shoes of Neymar, is never easy.
The Problem for Dembele has been inconsistency, and his injuries are to blame it. His injury problem can be understood by the fact that on his first league start against Getafe, he injured his hamstring. He was ruled out for about four months. His first goal for FC Barcelona came on 14 March 2018, a whole five months later when we signed him. Despite all this, whenever Dembele have stepped on the pitch, a whole new optimism is injected into the team. He is a pacy winger who can play on both the wings and is comfortable with both feet. That is a significant problem for anyone facing him as the defender where he is going to shoot from.

It’s an important season for Dembele.

Dembele is in his fourth season with Barca, and he hasn’t justified his price tag. Not just from the goal contributions, he is inconsistent even to make the first team sheet. As Koeman focuses more to keep him injury-free, this can be a season where Dembele has the best chance. With a 4-2-3-1 formation, with he is competing with Fati and Trincao for the starting position. It is now or never for Dembele.

Sergi Roberto

Make or Break Season
Despite being a midfielder, Roberto’s best moments for Barca came as a right back.

Sergi Roberto joined FC Barcelona from Gimnastic in the year 2006. After three years, he was promoted to the Barca B setup and ultimately made the step up to the first team in 2010. Let’s say, Roberto never fit in the Barca first team. Despite being a midfielder all his life, he had his best moments in the FC Barcelona jersey as a right back.

Sergi Roberto has had a very weird career with Barca. His debut for Barca came in 2010 in a Copa Del Rey match. He was in and out of the team. It was very predictable as to make a breakthrough in a midfield containing Xavi, Iniesta was never easy. His versatility was on show in the 2015/16 season under Luis Enrique as he featured in 7 different positions that season.

Barca failed to replace Dani Alves and have lacked a solid player. Various attempts were made, and players like Aleix Vidal and Semedo were bought in, but nobody convinced. With this problem, Barca gave Sergi Roberto a chance at the right-back position, and he took it amazingly well. At times Semedo looked vulnerable at the back, Roberto proved to be a stable RB and earned his place. He also scored the amazing 6th, and the decisive goal as Barca made an astonishing comeback against PSG.

FC Barcelona - Sergi Roberto
Sergi Roberto has a big season ahead of him.

But, as the current season approaches, Roberto said his role would be as a right-back this season. If Barca can get a permanent replacement this window, the competition for the right-back position will be on. The competition in the midfield positions is already high, and the chances of him playing as a midfielder are less. If Barca can sign Max Aarons or Sergino Dest, it is highly likely Roberto will still be the first choice RB. But that could change if the replacements fit in the team well and adapt to the play. So, it is high time for Sergi Roberto to cement his place as a right-back or it is highly likely that he is playing his last season for Barca.

Carles Aleñá

Carles Aleñá
Aleñá haven’t convinced till now in the first team

Many a time it’s better to send a young player on loan so that he gets minutes and can get the playing time that he needs. With Aleñá, the first was done, but he still hasn’t convinced and his chances to break into the first team looks thin. Aleñá comes from the prestigious FC Barcelona’s youth system. He joined it at the young age of 7 and was highly rated throughout his youth career. His debut for the first team came against Hercules CF in the Copa Del Rey on 30 November 2016 where he scored an equaliser.

From an academy which gave great players like Iniesta, Xavi and Busquets who were all right-footed, Aleñá is left-footed. Something, which was new and that wasn’t seen before that much. In June 2017, he signed a 3-year deal with Barcelona with a release clause of 75 million Euros. He was also nominated for the Golden Boy Award that very season.

Despite all this, Aleñá hasn’t convinced to be a starter for Barca ’till now’. He spent the 2nd half of the season on loan at Real Betis wherein 17 appearances, he scored 1 goal and provided no assists. It would be very easy to say that the loan deal didn’t work out, and Aleñá didn’t achieve anything from the loan deal. He is still very young and is just 22 years old. For a player with that age, the growth potential is still very high. But the problem with him is the bulk of midfielders that Barca and the system that Koeman deploy.

Barca - Alena
Aleñá didn’t have a good season at loan to Betis.

The real task that Aleñá has along with others like Puig or Pedri is to convince Koeman to give him playing time. With that said, it is highly likely Puig or Pedri are given more playing time as compared to Aleñá. It may sound contradictory to what Koeman said about Puig after the Gamper Trophy, but Puig has shown why he deserves the first-team spot and Aleñá hasn’t till now. As a Barca fan, I can hope that Aleñá proves every doubter wrong. Because in the current scenario, he is close to being the next Samper rather than the next Xavi or Iniesta.

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