The fun and games have already started amongst the culer fraternity.
Social media is awash with comment on how Barcelona could go from arguably the world’s best midfielder in Sergio Busquets to, in the words of some, a player who ‘wasn’t good enough for Barca 12 years ago and isn’t good enough now.’
I do wonder how many of those passing summary judgment before Oriol Romeu has kicked a ball for us again have actually been watching Girona of late?
My guess is not many because if they had been, they wouldn’t be making such lazy comments.
No, Oriol Romeu isn’t Sergio Busquets but then Barca don’t need him to be. ‘Xavi-ball’ is evolving because it has to, and that means a difference in personnel was always going to form part of the template.
And let’s be honest here too, so many on this very forum had been castigating Busi for long periods for being ‘too slow,’ ‘too predictable’ and ‘only there because he’s part of the club de amigos.’ They can’t have it both ways.
It’s true that Romeu wasn’t the first choice for the position, but Martin Zubimendi was absolutely clear from the beginning that he wasn’t leaving Real Sociedad and Joshua Kimmich was similarly out of reach.
In Romeu we have a player that, importantly, hasn’t cost the earth, is far from being the worst in his position, knows how the club operates on and off the pitch and, like Busi, keeps it simple.
If we look at the graph above, culers could be forgiven for holding their heads in their hands and wondering what on earth Xavi has done because there is absolutely room for improvement in all aspects from our new signing.
However, let’s not forget the players that Romeu will have around him this coming season: Gavi, Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, Ilkay Gundogan....
Now consider who the others in the graph have had alongside them too.
With respect, Romeu hasn’t had that level of team-mate with him for much of his career and I’m willing to hang my hat on those numbers increasingly dramatically over the course of the season.
They will make him better.
We are where we are financially and so a €5m outlay represents a drop in the ocean from an economical perspective too.
Oriol Romeu deserves the chance to impress in the same way as all new players do.
Have we really become that awful that we’re playing the very dangerous game of judge and jury already?