As we enter the 2nd part of July and we look back at this year’s summer transfer window, there has been a lot going on. From clubs spending outrageous sums of money to some of the best players switching clubs ahead of the next season and even a handful “sure deals” falling into the water. One of the biggest stories of the 2019 summer transfer market will be the Real Madrid shopping spree with over €300 million already spent in hopes to reclaim the European and Spanish throne following their disastrous 2018/19 season. While Real Madrid work on building a new “superteam”, their arch-rivals Barcelona look to strengthen their team as well, with two big signings of Frenkie de Jong from Ajax and most recently Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid, who are expected to make Barcelona’s already deadly attack a whole lot more dangerous.
As a team who boasts by having one of the best football players that ever lived in their ranks, Barcelona’s attack is far from being a one-man thing. In addition to Messi, Barcelona also has names such as Dembélé, Coutinho, Suarez and now Griezmann at their disposal. In addition to that, if all the stars align and everything goes as planned, Barcelona could welcome back Neymar to their attacking lineup, making Barcelona’s already absurdly good attack a whole lot better. With so many exceptional players at their disposal, there is a problem of figuring out how to set up the formation and which players to implement into it to make it work.
One way Valverde could tackle this issue would be to leave the formation the same. As a coach who has been using 4-4-2 for a while, the same could prove to be a great fit for the upcoming season as well with one small change. Instead of using Suarez next to Messi, Valverde could look to replace him with Griezmann. With that, Suarez would not have to carry the goalscoring burden anymore, which, as we sawm wore him down once the Champions League came around. There is, however, the question of how well can Griezmann perform in a role as a pure striker. While he did score 15 goals last season in LaLiga, his playstyle does not look like it would fit next to Messi. Additionally, this approach would mean Suarez will not get as much playing time, which will not be something he will not be too happy about. As we can see finding the balance will be a tough task Valverde will have to take on. This will, however, get even tougher if the rumours of Neymar returning prove to be true.
If the Brazillian finds his way back into Barcelona, however, this would mean Coutinho’s time at Barca is over. Additionally, Barcelona would have to find a way to get rid of Dembélé, who by their words is not for sale for any price, but considering there won’t be a place for him, the Frenchman just might start looking for a new club sooner than later. If we assume Neymar is to return, Valverde will most likely go for a 4-2-3-1 formation, which would return Suarez to the role of centre-forward with Neymar and Griezmann on wings and Messi in the centre. While deadly attack, this would leave Barcelona’s defence weakened with a questionable balance, especially if wingers refuse to help their defensive line.
How will Valverde approach the issue of finding the right balance in the attack is a mystery. Having exceptional players is only half the battle, the other half is finding a way to make them work as a solid unit. With Dembele, Coutinho, Messi, Suarez and Griezm already at his disposal and a possible return of Neymar to the team, it seems like something special will be needed to be done to utilize all the potential those players have. But if Valverde finds a way to do so, Barcelona just might enter 2019/20 season with the deadliest attacking line in the world.
Sports journalist, content writer and passionate football lover.