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Can Barcelona finally solve their right-back problem in January?

Bye, bye Bellerin

Valencia CF v FC Barcelona - LaLiga Santander Photo by Francisco Macia/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

At this point in time World Cup issues dominate the football landscape, but behind the scenes club matters will still need attending to.

Injury concerns can be parked for now too, though that subject may well need revisiting later down the line.

Put it this way, any long-term problems certainly won’t be the best news coming out of Qatar and Barcelona should perhaps be bracing themselves for the same given just how many players they have representing their various countries at football’s finest showpiece.

In any event, closer to home Xavi and Joan Laporta need to solve a problem like Hector Bellerin.

The former Arsenal star might’ve been expected to be the answer - finally - to the Catalans’ concerns at right-back.

Ever since Dani Alves left the club first time around, Barca have struggled to replace the marauding Brazilian.

FC Barcelona v Pumas - Club Friendly Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

It was never going to be an easy task of course - think Real Madrid finding a replacement for Roberto Carlos - but it’s doubtful that many would’ve thought the club would still not be in a position to field a back four that they were completely comfortable with.

Moving Alejandro Balde to the right at various points this season hints at the depth of the problem Barca have.

Sergino Dest had gone completely off the boil long before he moved to Milan, and for anyone suggesting that allowing him to leave was a mistake on Xavi’s part, why can’t he get a game for the Rossoneri?

Frankly, he’s toast once his loan period ends.

FC Barcelona v Pumas - Club Friendly Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

In the meantime, Bellerin’s La Masia roots and understanding of the Barca way were surely just what the defence was looking for?

Let’s just say the experiment hasn’t worked out and politely leave it there, even though so much more could be said.

Should Barca therefore enter the transfer market again this January, who do they go for? Arnau Martinez keeps on being mentioned but his €20 million price tag will likely be an issue unless some players can be offloaded this January.

Perhaps, World Cup injuries permitting, they don’t need to sign anyone, as a back four of Balde, Christensen/Garcia, Araujo and Kounde would be just the ticket.

The latter two are strong on the right and can interchange in the right-sided central defensive berth. Being at the club already, and well-versed in Xavi’s way of working, surely must count for something.

Whichever avenue the club eventually decide to go down, they have to get it right. No more excuses.

Even if that also means considering three centre-backs as an alternative if any or all preferred options are unavailable.

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