Barcelona were in the market this summer for a center-back after losing El Jefecito, Javier Mascherano, in January. Yerry Mina may have had a good World Cup but the club doesn’t look sold on his abilities, and with Marlon being unimpressive on loan at Nice, a new center-back was priority. However, Barcelona being Barcelona, they went out and bought another left-footed defender in Clément Lenglet.
While the intention is obviously to give Samuel Umtiti some legitimate competition, Thomas Vermaelen was already in the squad and content with a bench spot despite being one of the club’s senior defenders. He also had enough ability to replace Umtiti seamlessly without a massive drop in quality. All these things have created a negative perception around Lenglet’s signing.
For better or worse, Lenglet has over-performed in preseason so far. The Frenchman has been handicapped for both games with inexperienced full-backs like Miranda and Cucurella supporting him ,but he has done more than enough to curb any danger that their positioning indiscipline may cause.
Lenglet may have been an unnecessary signing but he has shown enough to suggest that he’s the real deal and could blossom into an elite defender.