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Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal or Carles Alena? Barcelona’s January transfer conundrum

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The champions have an overcrowded midfield

SOCCER: SEP 28 La Liga - FC Barcelona at Getafe CF Photo by Carlos Sanchez Martinez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The transfer window reopens in January and sees Barcelona with some decisions to make about their overcrowded midfield which could be trimmed this winter.

The Spanish champions currently have Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Arthur, Carles Alena, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal in the first-team squad fighting it out for three spots.

Sergi Roberto is also available to play in the middle of the park, as well as providing back-up at right-back, and manager Ernesto Valverde has spoken many times about the club’s ‘overbooking’ in midfield.

There’s no chance Busquets, De Jong or Arthur will leave in January, but we could well see one of Alena, Rakitic or Vidal depart and there has been transfer buzz about all three players.

Ivan Rakitic

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Ivan Rakitic looked destined to leave Barcelona earlier in the season but things have changed over the last few weeks. A favourite of Ernesto Valverde’s, he was dropped at the start of the season and was left complaining “they took the ball away from me. I feel sad.”

Fast forward a few weeks and injury to Arthur has worked in Rakitic’s favour. He’s started the last six games in a row and those rumors of interest from Manchester United, PSG and Juventus have faded away at the same time.

Arturo Vidal

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Arturo Vidal is another player who had made it quite clear this season he doesn’t really enjoy life on the bench and will consider his future if he doesn’t “feel important here.”

Valverde has used Vidal more frequently as a sub again this season. The midfielder has made three starts in La Liga but has come off the bench in 10 games and popped up with some important goals.

There was a report ahead of the Clasico that he stormed out of training after being told he was on the bench for the match. Yet he appeared as a substitute and did his best to rouse the team and the fans during his time on the pitch.

Rumors of interest from Inter Milan refuse to go away, but there have also been reports from Spain that Barca will refuse to sell the Chilean in the winter. Watch this space.

Carles Alena

Real Sociedad v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Carles Alena would have been thrilled to find himself in the starting XI for Barca’s first game of the season against Athletic Bilbao but it’s all gone downhill from there. The midfielder was hooked at half-time and then struggled to even make the matchday squad for the next few weeks.

Valverde has offered little information when asked about the youngster in press conferences, muttering the well-worn line that he has a lot of midfielders and he can’t play everybody. Yada yada.

Redemption for Alena finally came in December when he appeared as a late substitute against Real Mallorca, and he has gone on to feature against Inter Milan and Real Sociedad.

Real Betis and Getafe have both spoken about their interest in taking Alena on loan in January and offering him some game time, and of the three he probably looks the most likely to leave.

It’s also worth mentioning that Barcelona also have Riqui Puig champing at the bit to be promoted. He warned the club in November he’ll have to make a decision on his future if he doesn’t see game time and hasn’t featured at all for the first XI in 2019-20.

Poll

Who goes in January?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Ivan Rakitic
    (225 votes)
  • 32%
    Arturo Vidal
    (277 votes)
  • 41%
    Carles Alena
    (358 votes)
860 votes total Vote Now