Here we are just a week away from the start of pre-season for FC Barcelona, and with the focus at the club very much on the front line.
Though a left-back is still sought to provide competition for Jordi Alba, the technical department seem hell bent on getting attacking signings in through the front door first.
Didn’t anyone tell the club that any title-winning team worth its salt is built on a solid defence?
Barca did ok for the most part in that respect in 2018/19, but when the going got tough…Perhaps that’s unfair on Gerard Pique, who had one of the best seasons of his career. Ditto Marc-Andre ter Stegen who got Barca out of bother more times than they’d care to imagine.
Jordi Alba might also feel a little aggrieved, but the fact is that he was better as a presence going forward than he was in defence.
With that in mind, the expectation might be to go all in to get the defence fully sorted first.
After all, Barca haven’t done too badly in the recent past when it comes to securing the services of attacking players.
It does appear from the way they’ve gone about their business, however, even before the transfer window officially opened on July 1, that bringing in other goal scorers was their highest priority.
If the big names they’ve been linked with do arrive, the ‘you score four, we’ll score five’ brigade will be back in action.
Not that Ernesto Valverde would necessarily countenance the same, mind.
In all of the post season transfer talk, there’s been a notion that Barca could get back to their swashbuckling days of Guardiola and Enrique, but not much thought has been given to Valverde’s modus operandi.
The Barcelona of the last couple of seasons has been machine-like in its consistency, but also in its inability to re-invent itself.
They’re not a team now that will batter teams into submission, getting supporters off of their seats and cooing at what they were witnessing.
It’s no use bringing in big-name players in order to play a certain way if the manager has no desire to play in the way that best suits them either.
But maybe now is the time for the Basque coach to finally ease off the reins a little.
Give the players the freedom they require. Pacify the masses. Try something a little different in order to get them over the line at the back end of the season.
It goes against Valverde’s principles, but maybe he subscribe to attack still being the best form of defence after all.