Over the past week, Barcelona signed André Gomes from Valencia CF for a reported initial fee of €35 million. He became Barcelona’s fourth signing of the current summer transfer window after Denis Suarez, Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Digne. He is a young player with a lot of potential but the necessity of the signing has been questioned by many Barcelona fans due to the considerable amount of midfielders in the squad. Here, we take a look at what the Euro 2016 winner will bring to the team.
The first thing that stands out when looking at André Gomes is that he is considerably tall for an attacking midfielder. The player is 188 cm tall and becomes Barcelona’s fourth tallest outfield player. His height will be useful for both the attacking and defending of set pieces. Barcelona has been known for the lack of height in the squad, but since Luis Enrique’s arrival, that has not been the case due to the addition of the likes of Jeremy Mathieu, Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez and now the Portuguese midfielder.
André Gomes is also strong on the ball. He can make powerful runs with the ball and make it difficult for the opponents to get the ball from him, almost similar to Yaya Toure’s runs. These runs are very useful for counter-attacks and also for piercing through tight defences, an example being his goal in Valencia’s home win against Malaga last season. His strength will be helpful against physical teams like Sevilla and Atletico.
Ability on the ball
André Gomes is confident on the ball, has good ball control and he can use both feet. He’s known for his passing abilities as well. He made an average of 0.9 key passes per game for Valencia in La Liga last season with Rakitic having the same average. He had an average of 43.1 passes per game compared to Ivan’s 49.3, although Rakitic had a better pass completion rate with 88.1% compared to 81%. That is something André Gomes will have to work on.
Like Iniesta, André Gomes has the ability to dribble past opposing players with ease and set up a teammate. This is crucial because due to the fact that Iniesta might be given more resting time on the bench next season, André Gomes will be able to fill Iniesta’s role although not perfectly, yet. One thing that Barcelona struggled to do in the forgettable games in April last season, was to dribble through the packed defences. Along with Denis Suarez, André Gomes adds to the list of confident dribblers in the Barcelona squad. The former Benfica midfielder is also known for his ability to execute low crosses that are perfect for poachers like Luis Suarez.
The Portuguese midfielder was inconsistent for Valencia last season, but so too was the rest of the team under Gary Neville. At Barcelona however, he will be required to show unwavering performances due to the club’s high demands and also to convince the fans that it was a good decision to sign him. He brings physicality to the team as well as an attacking threat. His arrival points to the idea that Sergi Roberto could be deployed mostly as a right back this coming season and that Denis Suarez could debutize for Neymar in the left wing position during his temporary absence at the beginning of the season. Although his signing still raises some questions, we have to remember that he is still young and has a lot more to learn. Who knows, with support from the fans, in a few years time we might look back at this and realize what a bargain it was.