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Options to Replace Aleix Vidal at FC Barcelona, Part 2: Thinking Beyond the Squad

Use a B teamer, switch formations, or sign someone.

Anderlecht v Barcelona - UEFA Youth League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

With Aleix Vidal out for the rest of the season, FC Barcelona will need a deputy for Sergi Roberto when the Catalan does not play. Earlier, we looked at some in-house options to play the role. Now we look at some more creative alternatives.

Use a B Teamer

Status: Either Nili Perdomo or Sergi Palencia

Strengths: Familiar with both the position and the system at large.

Weaknesses: Inexperienced at the highest level.

Luis Enrique could count on a B teamer to join full-time as a member of the rotation. Both Nili and Palencia are good for Barcelona B, but are they ready to take on that responsibility? Palencia is Barcelona B’s captain, while Nili mostly is on the bench. So why is it that Nili is the one that’s traveling with the squad to Paris to play Paris Saint-Germain? If I had to guess, because Nili is two years older and has made his debut in La Liga already. This might allow Palencia to continue to develop by playing with the B team while Nili is more of an emergency solution.

Change Formations

Status: Luis Enrique has already employed the 3-4-3 before.

Strengths: No one plays out of position, plus an emphasis in attack

Weaknesses: Capable of being exposed defensively.

Who needs a right-back? Luis Enrique has already changed formations in the past to rest Roberto, so why not again? Obviously this formation is super attack minded, but at least it doesn’t sacrifice any particular player, instead allowing each man to retain their position. It’s very risky against big teams, however.

Sign someone else.

Status: Possible, but with restrictions...

Strengths: Barcelona ostensibly have options to sign a natural RB, and there are plenty talented ones in La Liga.

Weaknesses: Can’t play him in the Champions League, costly, and difficult to pry a player away at this stage.

Barcelona are allowed to sign an emergency backup, to play Spanish competitions only, from a Liga team (or a free agent.) The problem here is any signing would be costly, and Barcelona don’t really want to spend the money. So what player could they realistically get... who would be worth the money... who would adapt quickly enough... who would be demonstrably better than an in-house fix? It’s hard to say.

Recall Douglas Pereira

Status: Douglas is on loan at Sporting Gijón

Strengths: Douglas has played right-back for Barcelona and plays for a club in La Liga. Plus he’s a heck of a lucky charm.

Weaknesses: It’s freaking Douglas.

Douglas was barely used during two seasons at Barcelona, so I doubt Luis Enrique is in a rush to get him back. However, playing devil’s advocate here, he would only be emergency cover and he’s gotten a lot more playing time in La Liga now. He’s shown he can play and start for a club in La Liga... fine, a relegation candidate, but hey, it’s still in La Liga... too bad he’s injured at the moment. Oh well, it would be amazing purely as a story if it were to happen.

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