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Barcelona and the left-foot conundrum

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Left-footed players everywhere

FC Barcelona v Boca Juniors - Joan Gamper Trophy Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona has a lot of good, young players at the moment but there’s a growing concern that some of them may not be compatible with the others. In the heart of the defense, Barcelona has two promising young Frenchmen in Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet. The duo are both on a trajectory to becoming world-class and their presence in the squad brings optimism. However, both of them are left-footed which theoretically restricts their ability to play together. Neither player has any experience as a centre-back on the right side of the defense. Umtiti has been utilised in the role a couple of times and has not impressed despite his obvious talents.

In attack, Barcelona recently acquired the services of the Brazilian winger Malcom from French side Bordeaux under the noses of Italian side, Roma. Malcom is fast, can dribble, and has a keen eye for goal. These qualities make him a highly rated prospect in European football and Barcelona are lucky to have him in their ranks. Barcelona also has Ousmane Dembele who is one of the most complete youngsters in world football with his creativity, pace, ball-control and lack of a weak foot. Dembele also has a cracking shot as seen in the Super Cup.

Both players are incredible and their presence on the pitch makes Barcelona a greater threat in attack. However, they’re both naturally left-footed and that makes them incompatible in theory. Dembele is certainly capable of playing on the left wing but the role limits him to a more creative role as opposed to a goal-scoring threat. More importantly, Lionel Messi is also currently being used as a secondary striker behind Luis Suarez but is still prone to drift onto the right flank.

While the young wingers can co-exist due to the unique nature of Dembele being a two-footed player, the defenders might struggle for playing time, especially with Thomas Vermaelen knocking on their door for some playing time.

Barcelona’s left-foot conundrum continues to grow and it will be interesting to see how Valverde lines up with such identical profiles.