The situation with Sergino Dest is a peculiar one.
The American was one of the few players to fall out of favor with the manager when Xavi arrived, if reports are to be believed.
When Dani Alves signed as a free agent, many assumed he would mentor the right-back, and show him how to play the position the way Xavi wanted it done.
This seemed like an excellent outcome, especially considering that Barcelona lost depth at the position when Emerson Royal was sold to Tottenham over the summer.
Dest is young and full of promise, as evidenced by the fact that the biggest clubs in the world are interested in bringing him in.
He has incredible versatility as well, which may have worked to his detriment to start the season under Ronald Koeman. The American, who came up as a right winger before being converted into a full-back, played both sides of the field as both a defender and forward.
For a team that is just coming out of an injury crisis, you’d think that Xavi, seemingly open minded and managing based on merit, would see these qualities as a big plus.
Personally, that’s why I’m skeptical of reports that say Xavi doesn’t rate Dest. There must be more to the story.
The situation, like everything at Barca these days, is likely more to do with the difficult financial situation the club finds itself in, and the difficult tradeoffs that need to be made as a result.
Dest and Frenkie de Jong are two of the most sellable assets that Barca has, and would be willing to put on the market.
What’s strange to me, especially with Dest, is that Xavi and Barcelona would sacrifice him in order to finance bringing in new forwards, a position that all of a sudden is getting over crowded.
Ferran Torres was expensive, but he’s young and a project that Xavi is putting his faith in.
Does that signing come at a cost to a player like Dest?
Maybe not, especially with Samuel Umtiti signing a new contract at a reduced salary, but when you start talking about bringing in Alvaro Mortato, something isn’t adding up anymore in terms of priorities.
So what to do with Dest in January?
Sell him if Barcelona can get back at least the 20 million euros they originally paid?
This makes sense if there’s a bigger financial strategy for summer signings, and if Xavi, who likes to play with three center-backs anyway, and thinks he has enough wing-backs on the roster to make up for the absence of Dest, is the one calling the shots.
Loan him to a club like Chelsea for the remainder of the season?
This makes little sense to me. You’re not going to get much money back in return, and then you have to ask the question, what’s the objective?
For Dest to get playing time and shine and increase his value, instead of sitting on the Barcelona bench? And then sell him on later, or consider bringing him back to Barcelona if he impresses?
In my opinion, the most prudent thing to do is to keep Dest at Barcelona.
He has a golden opportunity to learn from the best right full-back in the history of the game. And by the way, Dani Alves is pushing 39. He will not be able to play every game, and what if he gets injured?
What if Jordi Alba gets injured?
Dest is a strong backup option for both, and if Xavi is the great coach I think he is capable of being, he should prove he can teach the American and help him reach his potential.
I still have a bit of PTSD from the consequences of Ronald Koeman’s personal grievances towards certain players, instead of giving them the opportunity to prove themselves on the field.
Xavi has not given Dest a true opportunity, and given what I’ve seen, and the situation that Barcelona finds themselves in going into a critical second half of the season, the American has plenty to offer that can help Barcelona achieve their objectives.
My vote is to let Dani Alves take him under his wing, and feel more secure knowing there is depth at the full-back position.
It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out, but one thing’s for sure, this is no small decision.
This is a big transfer window for Xavi and Joan Laporta. It’s their team now.
It’s their call to make, and they’ll be accountable.