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Gerard Deulofeu’s Role at Barcelona is Not Clear, But The Economics of the Transfer Are Sound

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Re-signing him was a bargain, but I’m not sure how he fits into the squad.

RCD Espanyol v Sevilla FC - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona activated their buyback clause and got Gerard Deulofeu back for about 12 million euros. Given the current market, his talent level, and his young age, it seems like a no-brainer.

Real Madrid just sold Mariano Diaz, who is 23 just like Deulofeu but has made only 8 top flight league appearances in his career to the Catalan’s 100, to Lyon for 8 million. Twelve is a bargain.

That said, where exactly the winger fits into Ernesto Valverde’s squad remains to be seen. Simply put, he will not start if Barcelona play 4-3-3... not with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar starting just about every match. And his lack of defensive discipline make him an ill fit for a 4-2-3-1 system or some kind of system in which all of the MSN trio plays in addition to Deulofeu.

His decision making still remains suspect, often taking on ambitious passes, dribbles, or shots that don’t come off. Despite that, his talent is undeniable and of course, sometimes they do come off; particularly, he offers penetrative runs.

If Valverde can teach him the things that every coach he’s had has so far failed to fully instill in him - better decision making and more defensive responsibility - then Deulofeu can stake a claim in the team. Even then, the spot may be on the fringes of the rotation, which I’m not sure he’s so willing to accept.

At the Under 21 UEFA Championship, Deulofeu was not considered a top performer as Spain lost the final to Germany. Still, one can only stake so much importance on an international tournament, particularly one played at U21 level.

In any case, for the money, buying Deulofeu seemed like a good choice. Getting him into the team long term though, is a tougher sell.