Being linked with stars from the World Cup is in vogue this time every four years. After shining on the biggest stage in the game, players are touted for moves to some of the most illustrious clubs around.
Following some enthralling displays at the Brazil showpiece, a host of Colombian players are naturally subject to the typical post-tournament hyperbole.
James Rodriguez looks to be on the cusp of a move to Real Madrid, per Pete Jenson of the Daily Mail, while his compatriot Juan Cuadrado has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona, per Ben Jefferson of the Express. But the Catalonians should think twice before splashing out a hefty sum for the Colombian’s signature.
This is no slant on Cuadrado, of course, who is an indisputably fine player. Rather that he just doesn’t seem to be an appropriate fit for the Catalan outfit.
La Viola have reaffirmed their desire to keep their star man too, and that could see Barca shelling out a substantial transfer fee if they’re to get the Colombian on board. Fiorentina co-owner Andrea Della Valle told Radio Blu (h/t Miles Chambers of Goal.com) that he’s willing to make sacrifices in order to keep the 26-year-old:
When Cuadrado returns we want to see if he shows us the desire to stay at Fiorentina. If he really does want to remain then we will talk to him and be honest about resolving the situation. It’s complicated, but not impossible.
I’ll do everything I can to keep him, even if it requires making sacrifices elsewhere, but if Cuadrado is no longer motivated to stay here then we can only accept that and move on. However, at the moment I don’t get that vibe from him.
Should he join up with Luis Enrique at the Camp Nou, here are the kinds of qualities that Cuadrado could bring to this Barcelona side:
If Cuadrado was to don the famous Barcelona strip next season then he would certainly excite the Nou Camp crowd.
He is stunning player when running with the ball at his feet, capable of taking his man on either on the inside or the outside with his vast and varied skill set. He was hugely impressive throughout the World Cup, finishing the tournament with four assists, as noted here by OptaJohan:
But at this juncture, Barcelona simply don’t need him. They need to strengthen other areas of the team.
Already, Enrique has three of the best forwards in football at his disposal in Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, and while the latter is currently serving a suspension, he also has Pedro and Gerard Deulofeu in reserve waiting to make an impression.
Bringing in Cuadrado—who is admittedly a versatile player—would simply be an over indulgence in attacking riches.
There are areas of the pitch in which Barcelona are not so blessed, however, most notably in defence. With experienced figures like Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes having left the club, this team is without a real experienced leader in their back line.
Sure Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique are both very capable defenders in their own right, but neither have the same presence that Puyol and Valdes provided; a presence that was missed enormously last season as Barca toiled defensively time and time again.
So instead of chasing Cuadrado—who would surely command a massive transfer fee—they should invest their money more astutely in other areas of the squad.
At this juncture, either of those players would be a more sensible acquisition than Cuadrado. And after shelling out in excess of £100 million on players already this summer, you have to wonder how much of their transfer budget Barcelona have left to spend.
If they can afford to sign a couple of defenders and Cuadrado ahead of next season then Enrique would have a formidable squad at his disposal. But if it’s one or the other then, while the prospect of indulging further in scintillating attacking players is a tempting one, Barca must prioritise the bolstering of their defence over having a gluttony of forwards.