The Denis Suarez experience has been a promising but yet disappointing one as well.
After a superb stint with Villarreal where he helped lead them to the Europa League semi-final and a fourth place finish in La Liga, Denis moved back to Barcelona in hopes of becoming an integral part of the team.
So far, it has not panned out the way Denis and the board had envisioned it going.
Denis performed well early in the 2016-2017 season as he featured in 18 of the team’s first 20 La Liga games but as the season progressed, Luis Enrique played him sparingly. This past season was an even more frustrating one for Denis as his playing time decreased under new coach Ernesto Valverde and an abductor muscle injury caused a minor setback. Ultimately, Denis failed to earn the trust of Valverde throughout the season.
It is fair to criticize Valverde for his handling of Denis’ season. In a campaign where the team was competing for the treble up until early April, Valverde could have implemented Denis into the rotation for more playing time in order to rest Iniesta or Rakitic.
Now as alluded to before, his career has been based on potential and it was demonstrated this past season.
Denis finished the 2017-2018 season with three goals and five assists in 27 games in all competitions. In La Liga, he created 14 total goal-scoring chances in 18 games. Denis had his fair share of top performances along with disappointing ones throughout the year.
A strong aspect of his game is that he is patient in space when he is in control of possession. Denis’ ability to weave into the flow of the game rather than taking a selfish mentality is what makes him work well with the team. He has a pass-first mindset to push the ball upfield into the attacking third to accelerate the amount of goal-scoring chances. His movement and off-ball runs when he does not control possession can create havoc for opposing defenses and open up key passing lanes.
This translates to success as a playmaker, which he demonstrated often throughout the season. As seen in his assist to Messi against Las Palmas, he has shown glimpses of being a game-changer for the team.
He does have flaws in his game such as being prone to losing possession in critical moments but his one major flaw as player is his finishing ability. Numerous times throughout the season, Denis had a clear-cut chance to score but failed to convert the finish.
Against Espanyol in the 1st leg of the Copa Del Rey quarter-final, Denis received a pass from Messi on the counter but missed the net by a wide margin.
Against Valencia at home, Denis had an opportunity to put the game away but missed on a chance where he had just the goalie to beat.
In arguably what was his worst miss came against Celta Vigo in the 1st leg of the Copa del Rey last 16 where he received a perfect cross from Nelson Semedo into the box... but missed.
His poor finishes were a recurring theme throughout the season and an aspect of his game that needs much improvement.
Overall, his future at this point is vague and uncertain. With Carles Alena set to receive a call-up next season and likely a top quality midfielder set to join the club, Denis’ role at Barcelona will continue to be solely as a bench player with fewer minutes. He will still continue to alternate between a winger and an attacking midfielder but the playing time will not be up to what he hopes for.
So far, the team has made no major indication that they plan on selling Denis. He currently has a contract set up until the 2019-2020 season. As it currently stands, Valverde and the board hope that Denis will continue to accept the diminished bench role.
At this point in his career, it is uncertain what will end up happening. A loan might not be an option at this time considering his desire to be a long-term starter, age and also the uncertainty that a second loan spell would bring to his career.
Even after two lackluster seasons, Denis is determined to make ends meet at Barcelona and prove that he is deserving of a long-term place on the team. He has no intention of leaving and even made it clear back in April that he wants to stay.
“My objective is to triumph here, I train every day for that, in my head I’m not thinking about leaving and I’ll fight to triumph here. That’s my only goal. I’ve always said it, I’m not thinking about leaving because Barca is my club and I’ll fight to be here.”
Source | Movistar+ (via Sport)
Now if Barcelona do consider selling Denis, they will not have a hard time doing so. Teams such as Napoli have been rumored to show interest in a potential transfer move while possibly Juventus or a move to the Premier League could emerge as possible landing spots. One team that would make sense for Denis if he leaves is Arsenal. The team is in the market for a speedy, versatile player and Denis’ potential could be maximized under Unai Emery.
If he’s looking to move to a La Liga side, Sevilla and Villarreal could open up as favorites for a potential return.
Celta Vigo are also another option for Denis, especially after the comments he made following Barca’s away match against Celta.
“I hope to come back to Vigo one day, but it’s too soon now.”
Source | Sport
Ultimately, Barcelona should not sell Denis unless they receive an incredible offer that they just can not refuse. There are not many players available in the current inflated transfer market that can provide quality minutes off the bench. His ability to adapt between playing as a midfielder and a left winger is needed for Barca’s lacking depth. While there are conflicting pros and cons to his value, there’s no denying his immense talent as a backup.
Given the circumstances, the upcoming season could be a make-or-break one if Denis decides to stay. With an increase in playing time and more opportunities to excel, he can finally prove his worth to the team.
Now it’s time to hear from you. What do you think Barcelona should do with Denis? Vote in our poll and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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