Tactical Insights

FC Barcelona Has Surprise New Signing, Reports MARCA

FC Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez is currently enjoying a ‘surprise signing’ at the business end of the season, as pointed out by MARCA.

As a former teammate of the pivot, Xavi feared the worst when his captain Sergio Busquets announced he would leave the club at the end of a La Liga title-winning season, ahead of eventually joining Lionel Messi at Inter Miami.

A lack of cash in Catalonia meant that the manager could not go after his desired targets in Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich and Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi, who both had price tags well north of $60 million.

Barca instead had to settle for bringing back an academy graduate in Oriol Romeu, who coincidentally left the club at the turn of the 2010s because his path to regular playing time in the first team was blocked by Busquets.

While at first it seemed Barca had scooped a bargain in paying short of $4 million for Romeu from Girona, the 32-year-old’s confidence started to wane in light of poor performances and he also suffered knee complaints.

Xavi was forced to put Frenkie de Jong and Ilkay Gundogan into more retreated positions which didn’t bring out the best in either man.

Yet the club legend found a solution at the turn of 2024, in a man that MARCA has dubbed a ‘surprise signing’ for the Blaugrana.

Rather conveniently, president Joan Laporta didn’t even have to head out to the January transfer market to spend money the club doesn’t have to find him either.

Outstanding in his first Barca season when joining from Chelsea on a free transfer, Andreas Christensen has been pushed out of central defense thanks to the emergence of Pau Cubarsi who now regularly partners Ronald Araujo.

This development has ended up being a blessing in disguise for the Dane and his team, however, with Christensen moved up to pivot and boosting numbers that the likes of De Jong and Gundogan would be proud of.

Through 22 appearances this term, Christensen boasts 95.1% pass accuracy, 69 duels won, 82 ball recoveries and two assists.

Following the international break, he is prime candidate to keep his decision when Barca takes on Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarterfinals.

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