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Barcelona’s failed planning to find a backup for Luis Suárez

The pursuit of Rodrigo is part of a failed planning over many years

FC Barcelona v Club Atletico de Madrid - Supercopa de Espana: Semi Final Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

FC Barcelona are in pursuit of Valencia’s Rodrigo because of an injury to Luis Suárez. The fact that Barça are scrambling to pay 60 million euro for a striker with two league goals this season is a result of poor planning.

It started, really, in 2014 when Suárez was signed. As a backup, Luis Enrique had three options: Pedro, Munir, and Sandro. The first was once a starting winger, given a bench role with the arrival of Neymar and Suárez. The other two were proper centerforwards who came from Barcelona B and were given their debuts under Lucho.

Pedro was used in Suárez’s absence in important games. He started in a title-deciding game against Atlético Madrid when Barcelona won La Liga, and was a late substitute in the UEFA Champions League Final against Juventus once again for the Uruguayan.

However, he left the Camp Nou to join Chelsea in search of more playing time. Sandro and Munir were given the chance to backup the MSN trio that year, although they played little. Still, they were developing and could have been used the next year.

But Barcelona were not convinced. Sandro was allowed to go to Málaga, while Munir was loaned to Valencia. Paco Alcácer was brought in, from Valencia himself, to be the new backup forward. Sandro finished La Liga with 14 goals that season, including one against Barça in a 2-0 Málaga win that probably sealed the league for Real Madrid. Munir and Paco finished with 6 each.

Alcácer was given a second season at Barcelona, while Munir was loaned once again, this time to Alavés, while Sandro moved to Everton.

In the 17-18 season, Alcácer got only four goals while Munir got 10. Sandro’s move was a bust and he failed to score for the Toffees.

Barcelona thought they had their winner. They shipped Alcácer off to Borussia Dortmund and brought Munir back into the fold. Alcácer picked up form for the German club, while Munir struggled to make an impact. Further, it came to light that Munir had an agreement to join Sevilla for free the next summer when his contract ran out. Barcelona forced him out in the winter, bringing in Kevin-Prince Boateng as an emergency replacement. Boateng had zero goals in just three league appearances for Barcelona, playing mostly rather poorly. Alcácer ended with 18 Bundesliga goals, while Munir had six in La Liga. Sandro, now with Sevilla, had zero goals that year.

Which brings us to today. Barcelona had no true backup to Suárez. Antoine Griezmann was signed, but effectively as a replacement for Philippe Coutinho on the left wing. And now, Barcelona are racing to sign Rodrigo, or any decent striker they can.

With all the wheeling and dealing, did Barcelona really improve their situation? Should they have stuck by Munir from the start?

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