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Embarrassing Vitor Roque mess exposes Barcelona’s transfer failings

It’s often forgotten in amongst the hoo-hah surrounding Vitor Roque that the player is still just 19 years of age.

At a club like Barcelona where the pressure is incessant, you’ve got to be a very special teenager indeed to get a look in, and for all of his brilliance in the Brasiliero for Athletico Paranaense, La Liga is a completely different ball game.

Long before ‘Tigrinho’ had even signed for the club, the whispers amongst culers was that Vitor Roque was the answer to Barca’s prayers, but on what did they base that opinion?

YouTube? Hearsay?

Xavi has had his critics – most notably from the player’s agent Andre Cury – for not playing the striker often enough, but it seems obvious, that he isn’t at the level of a Barcelona player – yet.

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Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It certainly begs the question as to why there was the urgency to bring him in, and at the expense of Xavi being able to adequately replace Sergio Busquets.

Indeed, it highlights Deco’s position in the entire transfer process. The Portuguese hasn’t covered himself in glory in his new sporting director role, and it’s not unfair to suggest he’s just Joan Laporta’s stooge at this point.

If there was a genuine belief from the club’s former midfielder that Vitor Roque was just what the first-team were looking for, one has to question what he saw that everyone else didn’t?

Far be it for me to question whether this was another deal where certain palms were greased to ensure that it got over the line either.

Aside from some electric pace and an occasional eye for goal, at this stage of his career Vitor Roque doesn’t possess the skill set that you could say was commensurate with a player whose transfer fee was a not insignificant €40m.

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Photo by Mateo Villalba/Getty Images

Can he justify it in future? Potentially. Hopefully. However, patience is in very short supply at Barcelona right now, and Xavi isn’t willing to give Vitor Roque the minutes he will need to try and prove himself.

And don’t forget the Barca boss seemed eager enough for Vitor Roque to arrive. He said back in January: “He’s a hope for the team. He’s a very good signing and I think he can contribute a lot to us. So many positive things come to mind, I don’t have time to think about the alternative. Work, goals, sacrifice… He’s a player that attacks the space.”

Yet Xavi seemingly wants players who are ready to go to war and put in a shift in the trenches now, and to that end he’s clearly decided to leave Vitor Roque on the bench in favor of more experienced options.

It won’t win him any popularity contests, clearly, but if Barca are still in the business of winning football matches, then it’s the right decision – at the moment.

A disconnect between manager and sporting director is perhaps of more concern, and potentially hints at the amateurish transfer processes and ways of working that are taking place behind the scenes.

If it continues this summer, expect more of the same next season – and don’t be surprised to see Vitor Roque sent on his way either.

What a mess…

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