A lot has been said about Barcelona’s signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Inter Milan. It was called excessive—60 million Euros and Samuel Eto’o was paid for his services—and it was ultimately called a failure, but I disagree.
On the whole it was a good idea. It gave Barcelona a Plan B if the usual tika-taka tactics did not work. This season Barcelona have not had that Plan B and have lost points because of Mallorca, Hercules and Rubin.
The problem with Ibrahimovic wasn’t his performances—although they were poor by his high standards—it was his personality. Therefore, I believe that Barcelona could benefit with keeping that Plan B and signing a replacement for Ibra.
I have drawn up a list of three potential players to fill the gap left by Ibrahimovic.
The first person I believe could replace Ibrahimovic is Keisuke Honda. He may not be a traditional centre forward, but he could give Barca that added physical presence they need upfront.
Honda was one of the stand out performers this year at the World Cup in South Africa, where he primarily operated as a centre forward for a Japanese side that somewhat lacked physical presence.
There was no denying that his performances were the main reason Japan got past the group stage. This experience, coupled with the fact he poses a significant threat at any dead ball situation, could make him a pivotal part in the Barcelona team if signed.
Another man who could give a Plan B to Barcelona is Lucas Barrios. Barrios is a fierce competitor as any follower of the Bundesliga will know. He can hold the ball up, can dribble at and past opponents, and most importantly, knows where the back of the net is—last season he scored 23 in 36 for Borussia Dortmund and already has five in nine this season.
The goals he would bring to the team if signed would help to take the pressure of Lionel Messi, who Pep has become overly-reliant of to score goals and win games. Barrios also copes with pressure extremely well and has brilliant composure so could be trusted upon to get a winning goal if chances came his way.
The last of my potential Ibrahimovic replacements already has a wealth of experience playing with many Barca players as a current Spanish international. He has also been linked with a move to the club so is probably the most likely of the three to join the club—Fernando Llorente.
Llorente has established himself as one of the top strikers in La Liga despite not playing for one of the top clubs—Athletic Bilbao. He has shown already this season how well he combines with the Barcelona players with four in four internationals.
This could make him the ideal replacement for Ibrahimovic with the fact he knows the tactics, knows how to score and knows how to make a nuisance of himself in the air. Not only that, but he doesn’t have an ego that would fill the Camp Nou.
Make sure to comment below on who you think could replace Ibra, or even if we need a replacement at all.