Approaching March, Barcelona can look back to the month of February with some content. Yes, they lost points in the league, drew 0-0 with Lyon in France, and only managed a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid in the first leg of the Copa del Rey. But, February posed Barcelona’s biggest test thus far, and they passed without any calamitous results. A Bernabeu return leg will be difficult, but can certainly be exploited with Real Madrid experiencing such a tumultuous season and playing Lyon at the Camp Nou will certainly be a test of the brilliant young French team’s gall. Throughout the month of February though, Kevin-Prince Boateng was used extremely sparingly, let’s take a look at what’s going on with the Ghanaian international.
Some of Barcelona’s transfers over the years could be considered questionable at best, among these players like Douglas, Aleix Vidal, and even Alex Song. Boateng’s winter signing seems destined to fall among the shelf of the previous players.
Throughout his career, Boateng has proven to be an effective midfielder/forward who can make an impact for certain teams – look no further than his wonder goal against Barcelona in the Champions League for AC Milan. But does he possess the quality necessary for a Barcelona player? Perhaps, but that talent hasn’t been showcased enough in previous seasons.
With a plethora of attacking options at his disposal, Ernesto Valverde must be questioned on his decision to sign Boateng. Appearing in only two matches thus far and playing mediocre at best, Boateng was certainly one of the worst players on the field in his appearance against Real Valladolid.
With the pressure of getting adjusted to Barcelona’s style of play heaped on and coming in midseason, the prospects of Boateng making a meaningful contribution this campaign are slim. Yes, Valverde has stuck to a rotational policy that has sometimes seen him picked apart by the media and pundits, but even in rotation, it seems that Boateng might be out of his league. With a front line / midfield that could contain Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Malcom, Arthur, and even Sergi Roberto when in need of rotation, why was Boateng purchased?
With Samuel Umtiti successfully making his first start in 2019, Barcelona look toward building the necessary momentum in the final stage of the campaign in an effort to win the treble. Valverde must now be in the hot seat and determine a starting XI that he can go to for large games.
There has been plenty of rotation and while beneficial in helping players rest, it seems that when the biggest games come along, Barcelona players and the gaffer alike are not 100% sure what starting XI is the best. The defense is now injury-free, and Valverde must make the decision of Semedo vs Roberto at right-back, as well as figuring out the midfield that has suddenly become packed with possibilities this year. Surely, a mixture of Rakitic and Busquets paired with Arthur, Arturo Vidal, Carles Alena or Philippe Coutinho depending on the formation.
Ultimately, it seems as though Boateng’s arrival comes at an inopportune time for this squad. Similar to Paulinho, his signing has brought on immediate doubts over his quality, which Paulinho was able to get rid of during the campaign last year. Hopefully, Boateng can find his place as an impact substitute, but as of now, it seems as though the signing will go down as one of the Blaugranes’ worst. Visca Barca.