FC Barcelona: 10 Reasons They Should and Shouldn't Sign Udinese's Alexis Sanchez
FC Barcelona are currently the world's greatest team, but that doesn't mean they aren't looking for new blood to further improve their fantastic squad.
One of the most persistent rumors is that Barcelona are close to signing Udinese's 22-year-old forward Alexis Sanchez, one of the most promising players in the world right now.
This article analyses five reasons why the Catalans should and shouldn't sign the Chilean forward.
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Why Barcelona Should Sign Alexis Sanchez
First let's look at why Barcelona should sign Alexis Sanchez...
1. Sanchez Is a Top Quality Player
As expected from the world's greatest team, Barcelona are only interested in top talent to strengthen their already incredible squad.
Alexis Sanchez clearly fits that bill; while he might be a relatively new face in the world of football, his talent is undoubted. It was his great ability that led a not very highly rated Udinese side to next season's UEFA Champions League.
If Barcelona sign Sanchez, they'll be getting a player with enough talent and potential to help the team achieve further success.
2. The Need for More Depth in Attack
With Bojan and Jeffren seemingly on their way out, there's no cover for Barcelona's famous MVP (Messi, Villa and Pedro) attacking trio. Andrés Iniesta and Ibrahim Afellay can fill in on the wings, but their natural position is in midfield.
It make sense to sign another quality forward in order to have better depth up front. With Sanchez, Pep Guardiola would be able to rotate his attackers more effectively and have everyone fresh in the late stages of the season.
Last season, Pedro and Villa did seem a bit tired towards the end of the season, Pep Guardiola will want to avoid that this time around, and the signing of Sanchez seems like a logical step to take.
3. Sanchez Would Bring Something Different to the Team
Sanchez is a winger, whose main asset is his ability to take defenders one-on-one.
No player in the current Barcelona really offers world-class wing play (maybe Pedro, but he tends to play inside), and only Messi and Iniesta are superior at dribbling.
As Xavi pointed out last week, Sanchez's 1-on-1 ability could be very useful to unlock tight defenses, namely the buses José Mourinho invariably parks whenever his teams face FC Barcelona.
In such games, having Messi and Sanchez—two fantastic dribblers—up front could prove to be crucial.
4. Sanchez Wants to Join Barcelona
Obviously, Barcelona can't sign every player who wants to move to Camp Nou, but the fact that one of the club's transfer targets has declared that he only wants to move to Barcelona is a big plus and an advantage for the Catalans in their negotiations with Udinese.
He might not be a childhood culé like Cesc Fabregas, but he clearly sees Barcelona as the place to be if he wants to have a successful career, and this would be an opportunity he'd be looking to make the most of.
5. Six Competitions, 60+ Matches...
Barcelona might play up to 65 matches next seasons (38 in the league, 13 in the Champions League, nine in the Spanish Cup, two in the Spanish Super Cup, one in the European Super Cup and two in the Club World Cup), which will certainly take a toll on the squad.
With so many games, every single player on the squad will have a role to play and a rotation plan will have to be adopted by Pep Guardiola. Signing Alexis Sanchez would increase Pep Guardiola's rotation options as he tries to juggle six different competitions.
Why FC Barcelona Should Sign Alexis Sanchez
Now let's take a look at the reasons why FC Barcelona shouldn't sign Alexis Sanchez...
1. He's Still Inexperienced
The truth is that Alexis Sanchez is only 22 years old, only really had one great season and never even played in the UEFA Champions League. Compared with the rest of FC Barcelona's all-conquering squad, Alexis Sanchez is extremely inexperienced.
While his potential is undeniable, there's no guarantee that he'll be able to deliver immediately, especially since he never played among such great players and will be new to the Spanish league.
2. He'll Be Very Expensive and Not Command a Starting Spot
Udinese are reportedly asking for a fee close to $40 million. Even in this inflated market, that is a lot for a player who hasn't fully established himself as a world beater yet. The potential is there, but is it worth $40 million?
Splashing such amount sounds even more senseless when there's no way Sanchez will manage to displace Messi, Pedro or Villa from the lineup, at least not in his first season. The long season means that he would have an important role to play, but $40 million stills looks like a very high price to pay.
3. His Favorite Position Doesn't Exist in Barcelona's Set-Up
Sanchez is a winger. Pep Guardiola's setup doesn't employ any natural wingers. Pedro Rodriguez and David Villa are wide forwards in theory, but they don't really provide much width. They're basically inside forwards, spending most of the time in the box looking to finish chances.
The club has never really employed out-and-out wingers under Pep Guardiola, as most of the width is provided by the magnificent Daniel Alves's marauding runs.
Sanchez has also proven to be effective as a withdrawn striker, but that won't work at Barcelona, where that position is known as the Messi position.
Still, as mentioned before, Sanchez's arrival would provide something different to the team (a kind of plan B), and it's not that hard to see Sanchez adapting to the Villa/Pedro role, especially since his work ethic is exceptional (like Villa and Pedro's).
4. There Are Better Alternatives on the Market
If Barcelona are looking for a forward, it'd make more sense to sign Atlético Madrid's Kun Aguero. He'd cost pretty much the same, he's been one of the world's best forwards for many years and he has plenty of La Liga and Champions League experience, not to mention that he and Messi are great friends.
He just seems to be a much better signing than Sanchez.
A player like Giuseppe Rossi also seems like a better bet, not so expensive and with La Liga experience.
5. There Are Other Priorities
While a quality forward looks like an important addition to the squad, it seems much more important to sign defensive reinforcements. After all, Barcelona finished last season playing midfielders as defenders!
It'd be a mistake to spend all the transfer kitty on a forward when the defense really seems to be in a more dire need of reinforcements.
You can also read 10 Reasons Why FC Barcelona Should and Shouldn't Sign Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas
You can follow me on Twitter: @Manueltraquete