Why Barcelona Cannot Afford to Lose Defender Marc Bartra in Transfer Window

Alexandra Jonson@@AlexandraJonsonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2014

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 23:  Cesc Fabregas (C) of FC Barcelona celebrates with his teammates Marc Bartra (L) and Neymar after scoring his team's second goal from the penalty spot during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Granda CF at Camp Nou on November 23, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Marc Bartra is sitting on an outgoing contract with Barcelona, as his current contract expires on June 30, 2014. 

According to Spanish newspaper Sport, the negotiations with the club have reached a standstill, as the two parties have yet to agree on a salary. 

The paper also indicates that several clubs from England and Germany would be interested in the Barcelona defender. 

However, Marc has declared he would rather get a lower salary and stay at Barca than to join another club. 

But even if Bartra is determined to stay at the club, he is not willing to agree on too low a salary. 

I must say that you really have to be impressed by the current Barcelona board, as they have made the most easy renewals seem hard and even lost players in the process. 

The easy renewals are the players who are at their dream club. At Barca, they're the players who've come up through the youth teams and have always dreamt of playing for the Blaugrana. 

Thiago Alcantara was one of them. He left last summer. He probably wouldn’t have, had the Barcelona board asked him to stay. Instead, they lost a player many thought would be the future of FC Barcelona for many years to come. 

Thiago is quoted by Moises Llorens in spanish paper AS, saying, "The club did nothing to make me stay. I waited and waited but the time came when I had to decide. And I did."

Andres Iniesta newly renewed his contract, but it took time—the kind of time a contract renewal with a player who is determined to stay his entire career at the club shouldn’t take. 

Victor Valdes is leaving the club, and even if the board wouldn’t have been able to change his decision, they at least could have tried. 

Puyol has declared Bartra his replacement
Puyol has declared Bartra his replacementGonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Either the Barcelona board don’t care too much about their homegrown players, or they just fail to show it. 

When they lost Thiago, they lost what could have been a big part of the club’s future. Now they can do the same with Marc Bartra. 

Here is why Barcelona cannot afford losing their young defender. 

To be a centre-back at FC Barcelona is not like being a centre-back in most other teams. The centre-backs at Barca have to be as good with their feet as the best midfielders, and they have to read the game just as well. They are midfielders who defend. 

Most of the youth players coming up the ranks and ending as centre-backs at Barcelona didn’t start out in the centre-back position. Both Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique had played in nearly every single other position before taking the role in the back. 

These are reasons why Barcelona have had it so hard to find a centre-back on the transfer market. This is also why both Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova bought midfielders to put in the centre-back position. 

It worked well for Guardiola with Javier Mascherano; not so much for Vilanova with Alex Song. 

Marc Bartra came to Barcelona when he was 10 years old, and in difference from most centre-backs at Barca, he already then played in the back. 

Barcelona were searching and searching for a new centre-back, but they couldn’t find anyone who fit the description. They wanted a midfielder who could defend, someone who could take care of the ball, pass it and read the game, but, at the same time, who could defend and know how to be the last man standing. 

He was there all the time. Marc Bartra fits perfect in the description. A player coming from outside would have to learn how to play the Barca way—which isn’t that easy to do. 

Marc Bartra knows no other way to play, he played it his whole life.

Though Bartra isn’t the solution to everything, and he still needs to gain a lot more experience. And, as Puyol soon won’t be there anymore, Barca will still have to find another centre-back. 

But losing Marc Bartra would be a mistake the club cannot afford. 

With Marc they have a centre-back for many years to come. The bigger question would be who will be beside him.

The kid isn’t asking for much, he isn’t even asking them to match what other clubs are offering. So for Barcelona there is only one wise thing to do here. Give the kid what he is asking for. 


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