Neymar to Barcelona: What It Would Mean for Barca's Squad and Tactics
“Neymar is heading to Barcelona.”
This one line has dominated headlines for over a year now and is beginning to get quite irritating. But if true, what would the move mean?
MARCA has claimed that Barcelona will press to bring Neymar to the Camp Nou this summer, and the move should be seen as promising by Cules. The addition of the Brazilian starlet is just the answer Barca needs for their offensive struggles.
Do not get me wrong, the club needs a new high-profile defender above all other transfers. But Tito Vilanova will not stop there, as he will use Neymar to end the Messi dependence at the Catalan club.
In this article, we will break down what the arrival of Neymar would mean for Barcelona’s squad and their tactical approach to matches next season.
An Exodus of Wingers
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The futures of both David Villa and Alexis Sanchez have been up in the air for some time. But if Neymar does make the move to Spain, expect both wingers to be sold this summer.
Neymar will require a guaranteed starting spot at Barcelona and plenty of time to develop his talents.
Paying such a high amount for a player will not allow the club to sit Neymar for as much as they would like. Without more playing time, David Villa will certainly head for greener pastures.
The club could possibly keep Alexis around due to his young age and resurgent form, but it is unlikely. The Chilean has been out of sorts all season and is in no place to fight with Pedro for a starting role.
Neymar will likely command so much time that these two stars will know their time is up.
With Pedro, Cristian Tello, and Gerard Deulofeu all on the roster it appears as if Neymar will leave no space for others. One winger could be kept, but do not bank on that happening.
A Possible Harm to Other Young Players
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If both Villa and Alexis are sold, playing time will be evenly spread among Barcelona’s forwards. However, the arrival of the Brazilian could hurt the development of upcoming La Masia graduates.
Cristian Tello and Gerard Deulofeu would certainly be part of a rotation and would not see the pitch as much as they like.
In fact, Tello recently signed a new contract extension with a very low release clause, which is likely just in case his playing time is affected (via the FC Barcelona website).
However, with so many games in the season, it is unlikely that Neymar will push other young wingers out of Barcelona. But fans will be worried that he could harm a future star like Gerard Deulofeu.
Barcelona's Second Option
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As far as tactics are concerned, Neymar will bring a lot to Barcelona. But more importantly than anything else, he will give La Blaugrana a very solid second scoring option.
It is no secret that the Catalans need more consistent scoring to remain one of the world’s top clubs. In all competitions, Messi has scored 60 goals while the next highest scorer only has 15 goals to his name (via Goal).
Though Messi is more than capable of scoring insane amounts of goals, no team should ever force a player to do that.
Neymar will bring his own ability to score, which will drastically take pressure off Messi’s shoulders. The two are both capable of leading a club offensively, and having both in the same squad would end the Messi dependence at Barcelona.
Direct Attacking and Spacing
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The Catalans have been figured out by other clubs by now. Defenses are forcing Barcelona to play through the middle, and with Messi as the only option, they are man-marking the Argentine feverishly.
Adding Neymar to the mix would fix most the areas that defenses use to stifle the Catalans.
To begin with, Neymar will require his own attention from defenders. The days of five defenders marking Messi will be over as that would be a dream scenario for Neymar.
With defenders forced to guard both Messi and Neymar, clubs will not be able to park the bus quite as much.
Neymar possesses the ability to create his own shot and dribble past defenders. The spacing that he and Messi would make for each other would arguably make both players even better.
The Brazilian will bring tremendous wing play that has been lacking recently from La Blaugrana. His ability to get wide will pull defenders out of position and completely open up chances for other players while Messi will do the same in the middle of the pitch.
Barcelona's famous Tiki-Taka style of play will in no means end, but Neymar will add a new and needed element to it.
Is Neymar the Answer?
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There is no doubting that Neymar will be a massive upgrade for Barcelona’s offense. But is he actually the answer? I would argue that he is, but only partially.
I would not claim that Neymar alone is the answer. Instead, a player possessing Neymar’s ability is the answer. Players such as Sergio Aguero who can provide the same if bought could be the answer as well.
So there are actually several forwards who could be brought to the Camp Nou and provide what the club is looking for.
But there is no denying that Sandro Rosell has his eyes set on the Brazilian starlet.
No one can truly predict how Neymar will fare in a move to Europe. He will have immense pressure on his shoulders, but do not expect a flop.
At a club like Barcelona, he will be nurtured and not forced to carry the team. With all the factors that will be in play, fans should expect the very best from Neymar.
Should the Brazilian truly show his best in Europe, he will answer all of Barcelona’s needs offensively without question. But until that happens, there is not a guarantee yet.
But if you are asking my opinion, I believe Neymar is a necessity for Barcelona along with a new center-back. The Brazilian will pair up brilliantly with Messi, and the inability to score will be a thing of the past for the Catalans.
What will Neymar bring to Barcelona? Is the Brazilian a necessity for Tito Vilanova’s club? Leave your thoughts and comments below.
Tre’ Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on Barcelona, La Liga and Neymar.