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Pedri’s excellence and Lenglet’s season to forget are major headaches for Barcelona

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Two differing trajectories...

FBL-ESP-LIGA-LEVANTE-BARCELONA Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images

Two opposite sides of the same coin.

On the one hand we have Pedri. An absolute shining star for club and country and, injuries permitting, sure to go on and become a legend for both.

On the other is Clement Lenglet. A defender who, on his day, deserves his place at the heart of the Barcelona and French national team defences. However, his best days appear long gone.

The conundrum that both have presented Barcelona with too, is likely to cause the club all manner of problems for the 2021/22 campaign.

Looking at Lenglet’s situation first of all, his form has fallen so far over the cliff edge that he needs to be sold. This summer.

France v Switzerland - UEFA European Championship 2020, Round of 16 Photo by Baptiste Fernandez/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Far too often last season he was found wanting, even in the most basic aspects of defending. That’s just not good enough for Barca, and the squad have enough players in the position to be able to account for his permanent absence.

There are only so many times that you can make excuses for a player who is supposed to be of international class.

Pedri is at the opposite end of the scale.

The way he has seamlessly fitted in to Barca’s first-team and the Spanish senior side is nothing short of sensational.

However, that success is going to come at a price.

He has played non-stop virtually for the entirety of the 2020/21 campaign, is now spearheading Spain’s charge to a potential European Championship title, and will also be expected to turn out for his country at the Olympics.

Barca have lodged their arguments against that happening and well they might.

Croatia v Spain - UEFA Euro 2020: Round of 16 Photo by Martin Rose - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

The 18-year-old is an integral part of Ronald Koeman’s set-up, and the risk of burnout is very real indeed.

It’s clear Pedri needs a rest if he wants to be able to give his best throughout the upcoming campaign.

The RFEF are believed to have frowned upon Barca’s request to stop the player from participating, though perhaps the final decision should be left to the player, much like the club did when a certain Leo Messi wanted to appear for Argentina.

Pedri will know his body better than anyone else and from what we can deduce from post-match interviews and interviews more generally, he has an old head on young shoulders.

Of the pair, the more worrying situation is arguably Lenglet’s. Barca simply cannot afford to have this man as a bedrock of their back four for a moment longer.