In the past couple of weeks the unthinkable has become a mainstream thought amongst the culer fraternity. Should Barcelona consider cashing in on Alejandro Balde?
The 20-year-old has barely been allowed to make an impression in the first-team and now his future employment would appear to be in question.
It’s true that he’s suffered a remarkable loss of form of late, to such an extent that Xavi prefers the right-footed Joao Cancelo there, however, given the nine-year age difference, that’s clearly not a long-term solution.
One thing the youngster does have to work on aside from his general associative play is his final ball.
Even at his best when displacing Jordi Alba there was always a question mark over Balde’s end product.
Whilst he managed six assists during the course of last season, he’s only delivered one in 18 games during 2023/24 per transfermarkt.
Are we as supporters being too hard on him to expect more?
Personally, when you have a pure centre-forward like Robert Lewandowski in situ, your primary concern is whipping the balls into him, which shouldn’t prove to be too difficult.
Though the Polish international has gone off the boil too, he thrives on service and that’s something that Balde in particular hasn’t been able to provide when required.
That’s not good enough at this level, his age and relative inexperience notwithstanding.
It’s also unfair for culers to keep using Pep Guardiola or Luis Enrique’s treble-winners as the barometer for all future squads and players to be measured against.
Every young Barcelona player needs to be allowed to develop at their own pace.
Of course, it’s not wrong that when Balde, for example, is out of form, then he’s out of the team. Then it’s incumbent on the player to motivate himself enough to be better and to improve. To show Xavi that he’s wrong. Ditto the likes of Fermin Lopez and Lamine Yamal.
On the flip side, supporters clearly have a right to voice their opinions whether positive or negative. However, there has to be a genuine appreciation of all sides of a particular argument rather than just “he’s not good enough, sell him.”
If the club do decide to go down that road in any event, perhaps it’s as much to do with the well-reported financial issues that the club are experiencing as anything else. After all, Balde could certainly earn the club a pretty penny.
It’s not the best strategy to be working by, but until the club are out of the woods - no thanks to Josep Maria Bartomeu - selling underperforming but valuable stars such as Balde will always be a consideration at least.