Do Barcelona really need big name, expensive signings?

Do Barcelona really need big name, expensive signings?


If the reports emanating from Spanish newspaper Sport are to be believed, Barcelona are now chasing Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery to go with their pursuit of Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas.  Both are world class players and would undoubtedly improve any side, but are they really necessary acquisitions to a side which is currently the best in the world?

The Signing of Ibrahimovic

When I originally heard that Barcelona were interested in signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, I feared that he could struggle to fit their style of play in a similar way to that of  Dimitar Berbatov at Manchester United. The Swede had a field day in Italian football, particularly at Inter Milan where he banged in 66 goals in only 116 appearances. But one of the most important aspects of Barcelona’s play is their willingness to attack and defend as a team, something that the often egoistic Ibrahimovic would have to accept. Like Berbatov, he has been rightfully praised for his eye-catching skills and lethal finishing. However, both have also been considered lazy and can often give an impression of lack of interest in games which has frustrated fans.  So, was he really worth a reported 40 million pounds and Samuel Eto’o –  a hard-working and consistent goal-scorer for Barcelona over five years?

Ibrahimovic - struggling for goals
Ibrahimovic - struggling for goals

The Rise of Pedro

Although being currently played as an attacking winger, Pedro can also be used as central striker and is yet another example of the talent that is continuing to come through Barcelona’s youth ranks.  Having struggled to break into the first team before this season, he has become an influential member of the side and has currently scored 15 goals in 31 games, which includes the record of scoring in six different club tournaments during the one season. Comparatively, Ibrahimovic has not scored since December 12 against Espanyol, almost two months ago. Another one to mention is young Bojan Krkic, but admittedly he is currently too young and inexperienced to lead the line for Barcelona on a consistent basis.

Partnership of Xavi and Iniesta

Where would Fabregas fit into a well-balanced and creative midfield that contains arguably the best passer of a ball in world football in Xavi, and the equally capable Andres Iniesta?  Jonathan Dos Santos and Thiago Alcantara are just two promising youth products who may eventually lose patience in waiting for first team opportunities and choose to move elsewhere if Fabregas arrives. To complete the midfield, the ever-improving Sergio Busquests, Yaya Toure and  Seydou Keita bring stability and physicality to the side as holding midfielders. Which means that Fabregas would surely be used as a substitute to Xavi and Iniesta, unless Barcelona want to break up the midfield partnership which helped them win everything last year. Or they could just change their highly successful 4-4-3 formation to accomodate Fabregas, which could disrupt the momentum and understanding of the team. Given the price tag Arsenal would be able to command for Fabregas, it just doesn’t make sense.

Iniesta and Xavi - The Pass Masters
Iniesta and Xavi - The Pass Masters

Plenty of attacking talent

Any side that has a group of strikers which include Thierry Henry, Pedro, Bojan and even Ibrahimovic if he returns to form, not to mention the best player in the world at the moment in Lionel Messi, does not need to spend extravagant amounts on more attacking talent. Granted, Henry is approaching the end of his career and has been disappointing this season. However, with future stars within their ranks such as Gai Assulin ready to replace him, it appears as though Barcelona have either forgotten what made them so successful over the last year, or they have caught Real Madrid’s spending fever. Though Ribery is an exceptional attacking winger, for the price that Barcelona would have to pay and their unrivalled depth of talent in the youth ranks, it seems incomprehensible to bring in such a player.

Barcelona has what Real Madrid currently lacks – quality young players in all departments. There is no need to resort to Madrid’s seemingly annual spending sprees and bring in high-profile and expensive players such as Fabregas and Ribery.

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  1. it makes no sense to buy fabregas when there is xavi, iniesta, yaya, busquets and keita plus some good youngsters.

    but ribery would be a good buy. the 433 would have two agressive killer forward on the wings. barca would become perfect in attack. henry is not a wing player he should play as centre forward.
    pedro is t0o young. dont be like wenger

  2. Ibrahimovic is a former Ajax player, Ajax school, Ajax filosofie which is now by the way the vision at La Masia.. It can’t be a mismatch to Barcelona.
    Seems Mr. Ben Murphy has a love it – hate it
    feeling towards Ibrahimovic..

  3. Madrid do have very good talent in heir Castilla, but they are too afraid to play them. Recent examples of their youth players shining are Mata, Negredo, Granero, Filipe Luis, etc. They do have good youth system!!

    Ibra has actually been quite a good addition for Barca and the money is already considered to be well spent. Pedro although is scoring goals, isn’t yet a finished product. So yeah Barca do need a left winger but not some one like Ribery, not at that cost!! They need some one like Arteta so that Pedro could step into the role cleanly in 2-3 years

  4. good article and i find it crazy to hear about barca being linked with all sorts of players.
    i think the fabregas link is a combination of them seeing him as one of their own and bringing him back to where they feel he should rightly be and laporta looking to exiting as president as the man who signed back cesc along with the rest of their honours

  5. The Ribery rumor is the most laughable. He’s a great player, but Zidane’s been in his ear about Real Madrid. Cesc is an understandable link, given that he started at the Barca academy. Granted, his return wouldn’t be as cheap to secure as Pique’s, but he’d be the clear successor to Xavi. Xavi is the undeniable engine in Barca, but he’s got a lot of miles on his legs. I could see Cesc rotating in with Xavi and Iniesta for a year.

  6. “Or they could just change their highly successful 4-4-3 formation to accomodate Fabregas”

    I knew there was something special about barca but I never dreamed that the key to their success was fielding 12 players.

  7. You all are forgetting that iniesta can thrive at the winger role that henry plays at. he does so every third or fourth game when henry and pedro need a rest. if fabregas was picked up, i wudnt be suprised to see
    Alves- Puyol- Pique- Abidal/Maxwell
    Fabregas- Xavi
    Iniesta- Ibra- Messi
    until xavi hangs it up and iniesta drops back in to let pedro take the left winger role. unfortuantely, bojan is the odd man out for 5 or 6 years

  8. 4-5-1


  9. how about 3-6-1?
    messi-fabregas-iniesta-xavi-yaya toure-ribery

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