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Barcelona should trust Iñaki Peña

There is no need to spend money on another keeper

FC Barcelona v Atletico Madrid - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

With Marc-André ter Stegen’s long-term injury, it was inevitable that Barcelona would get linked to a lot of goalkeepers.

But rather than signing someone in a rush, faith should be kept on Iñaki Peña.

The 24-year-old has had ups and downs over the years, but his assured performance in the 1-0 win over Atlético de Madrid showed that when given a run out, he will respond. The manager should put faith in him to continue to increase his confidence.

Peña has experience being Galatasaray’s first-choice while on loan, and was a youth international for Spain. This is by far his biggest challenge, but at 24, he’s about the right age to face it.

Signing another name might not be an upgrade, might be expensive, and could even interfere with Peña’s confidence.

There’s also no obvious candidate. Some of the names the media has banded about are just not a good idea. David de Gea can’t play with his feet and wants a big wage. Yassine Bounou is a class keeper of course, but earns a big wage, and it’s unlikely Saudi Arabia would let him go. I could go on.

There’s an argument that Barcelona could sign a back-up for the short term. The problem is then you’d need to find someone who’s willing to move but also would come for free and on low wages, since a backup keeper for a few months is unlikely to even play. That’s hard to find.

Yes, if something were to happen to Peña, you’d be happy you had another keeper. But the chances he’d get injured as well before Ter Stegen was back are fairly low. Even then, you could hit the panic button only when such a thing happens. Then entertaining signing someone like De Gea or Sergio Asenjo makes more sense.

Barcelona also have 19-year-old Ander Astralaga and 23-year-old Marc Vidal over at Barcelona Atlètic. They are not Barcelona starting material (at least not yet) but they might be enough to be in reserve for a few months.

It’s inevitable that Peña will have a bad day or make a mistake eventually, but he’s shown enough to be given the starting spot at least on a provisional basis. The winter transfer window looms, and Barcelona would be prudent to scour the market and look at options. Particularly, it would be good to see if there’s any low-cost option that could serve as a backup if Astralaga and Vidal can’t be trusted as the #2 keeper. But the most logical thing is to save the money and continue with Peña.

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