5 Reasons Barcelona Will Regret Selling Thiago Alcantara

Jason Pettigrove@@jaypetti1971Contributor IAugust 27, 2013

5 Reasons Barcelona Will Regret Selling Thiago Alcantara

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    Barcelona are going to come to regret selling Thiago Alcantara.

    The Spanish U21 captain has got it all.

    Ex Barca manager and new Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola confirmed as much when courting the player before his eventual capture for the Bundesliga champions (per Francesc Tomas, ESPNFC):

    It is either Thiago or no one. I know him very, very well.

    He is a super, super player. He can play three, four, five positions.

    He wants to play and at Barcelona his chances would be worse.

    In a mysterious set of circumstances, the buyout clause of €90 million in the players' contract was lowered to €18 million because he hadn't played the requisite amount of minutes.

    Yet, going into the last couple of games of the 2012/13 La Liga season, Alcantara only needed to play a small part to ensure that the buyout clause remained at it's much higher level.

    Arron Duckling of SBNation/BarcaBlaugranes called it at the time:

    Thiago had to feature in less than 60% of Barcelona matches [for the clause to be lowered]...

    With 34 appearances in 58 matches, Thiago has currently featured in 58.6% of Barcelona’s fixtures this season...

    Provided he plays a part in Barça’s final two fixtures, he will reach that 60% mark (36/60). 

    With the La Liga title already wrapped up it made no sense whatsoever to leave the player out.

    Let's take a look at five reasons why Barcelona will regret that decision.

Potentially World Class

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    It is fair to suggest that Alcantara isn't at the level of the Andres Iniestas' or Xavis' of this world—yet.

    Perhaps that is why Sandro Rosell thought he was well within his rights to argue that the player should be patient, per FCBarcelona.com:

    I hope Thiago follows in Xavi, Iniesta, and Sergio’s footsteps... Now they are recognised by the world.

    It took time for all of them to become regular starters, there’s a lot of competition.

    I would like it if he had the patience the others had.

    However, Alcantara's performance in the U21 European Championship final (Daily Telegraph) showed he has all of the tools in his locker and is ready to mix it with Europe's best now.

    Guardiola certainly had no qualms in throwing him straight into his Bayern Munich side

    Seeing the likes of compatriots Isco and Asier Illarramendi playing regularly for their club sidesMalaga and Real Sociedad at the timemust really have grated on Alcantara.

    Convinced of his own abilities to, at the very least, sustain a regular and worthwhile challenge for a midfield berth, a little more care and attention towards the player may well have seen the Spaniard continue his love affair with the Catalans.

    Mundo Deportivo (h/t totalBarca) detailed the players ire and intentions:

    It’s not right to say that I have no patience, I waited all the way up to the European Championship.

    I was waiting for some kind of word from the club. They knew my intentions and yet no one from the club communicated with me.

    Everyone is looking out for their own interests. I wanted to be valued.

Squad Rotation

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    Gerardo Martino simply has no choice other than to consider useful and worthwhile squad rotation for the duration of the new La Liga campaign.

    We saw at the end of last season just how fatigued Xavi and others appeared. Since April, Lionel Messi has only completed one game because of injuries and tiredness.

    Just a couple of examples of Barcelona's continued success catching up with them, yet the club hierachy saw fit to continue using the same players time and again.

    It's debatable that those same players would get through another entire La Liga and Champions League season without further problems, were they not rested at certain points during this time.

    Certainly you can be assured that with World Cup 2014 looming, each player would want to arrive at the tournament in the best physical condition.

    With the above in mind, it's reasonable to conclude that Alcantara would have played a much bigger and more active part under Martino this season. 

Versatility

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    Alcantara has been utilised in various midfield roles throughout his career and to his credit, he hasn't looked out of place in any of them.

    When playing for Barcelona, he has generally taken up the central playmaking role, a position he made his own during Spain's successful U21 European Championship.

    His dynamism and energy coupled with an ability to run at, and beat, defenders at will has often seen him successfully employed in an attacking midfield role. 

    He has also displayed the capability to sit back and dictate the play from a deeper standpoint; his touch, vision and awareness complimentary to the position. 

    It's an impressive and versatile resume.

No Trust in Youth

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    When one of your best youngsters is allowed to leave without any attempt made to keep him, does that send the correct message to the other young players at the club?

    Why did Barcelona "do nothing" to keep Alcantara?

    The player is quoted in Miles Chambers' report on Goal.com: "I wanted to feel valued...and the club didn't do anything to make me stay. In any case, you can't dwell on the past - it's better to look to the future."

    Many La Masia graduates have either been pushed out on loan or been sold during the last few months, giving the impression that you can only attain a certain level at Barca before being dispensed with.

    Inside Spanish Football noted over a year ago that Hector Bellerin was another player who couldn't wait to move.

    It has been really, really great. I’m so happy with the decision I made to come here [to Arsenal].

    I have learned things I don’t think I would have learnt at Barcelona so I am really enjoying it.

    I hope to be here for many more years.

    If the captain of the all-conquering Spanish U21 team can't make a lasting impression on the first team, what hope is there for others.

    The cream of young talent may think twice about signing for the Blaugrana in future and the wider implications for Barca are massive.

Strength in Depth

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    Perhaps Alcantara was always going to leave Barcelona.

    By allowing him to effectively "walk out," that's the impression the club gave—that there was really no point in even trying to seduce him into staying.

    Yet, had they gone out of their way to massage the players ego, it's possible he would've stayed for a further 12 months at least.

    As his situation developed, Barcelona made no moves themselves to address cover within the squad and, as such, they have left themselves lighter in that department as a result.

    Some may point to the recent signing of Denis Suarez as Alcantara's "replacement," but the truth is the ex-Manchester City player is at least a season away from the first-team squad.

    For a club as professional as Barca to make such an elementary mistake is stupefying.

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