Among all the players Barcelona signed this summer, the most hyped one – and for good reason – is yet to make his official debut. We’re talking of course about Luis Suarez, whose World Cup biting incident has resulted in a long suspension. But aside from his antics, Suarez is also one of the world’s deadliest strikers and most believe his addition will make Barcelona an even more formidable side. The thought of an attacking threesome of Messi, Neymar and Suarez is mouth-watering by all accounts and there’s certainly curiosity and even eagerness to see how it will work. However, as history has shown us, adding top talent together isn’t always a recipe for team success, especially at Barcelona where a certain Argentine rules the roost.

As has been the case at Barcelona for the past 7 years or so, the first big test to a world class forward just arriving to the club is whether he can gel with Messi, or rather whether he can cope with playing second fiddle to Messi. Used to being the star of every team he’s played for so far in his career, Suarez will now have to adapt to a completely new reality; he’s no longer the best player in his team, not even close, and he won’t be the focal point of the attack, but another cog in the machine – granted, a very important cog surely. This is something the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic were blatantly unable to cope with, leading to a quick exit from the club. It remains to be seen just how, or if, Suarez will adapt to the situation he faces.

The situation isn’t necessarily a negative one for Suarez, in fact it has its great advantages as Neymar has been finding out. Playing alongside Messi means for starters that the opposition’s defense won’t be as focused on you, giving you more space to maneuver. More crucially, Messi’s unequaled playmaking skills are sure to create several great goalscoring chances to his fellow forwards, as his frankly spectacular assist record so far this season – not to mention having been the player who created the most scoring chances during the 2014 World Cup – attests to. With Suarez’s finishing skills, if he manages to click with Messi – and Neymar – it could really be something special and Suarez could conceivably maintain or improve on his scoring rate at Liverpool. Strange as it might be putting it like that when it comes to a player of Suarez’s caliber, the way he gels with Messi will most likely either make or break his Barcelona career.

Can he and Messi click?

Can he and Messi click?

The added firepower would certainly be welcome in the biggest matches, but perhaps more importantly in the matches against the weaker teams in La Liga where it can sometimes be so tough to break through packed defenses – using a formula a bit like Real Madrid in recent months; Los Blancos have been steamrolling their opposition, led by an attacking triumvirate of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale; by having three forwards who are each deadly in their own right, Real Madrid have found a way to dominate inferior opponents in incredible fashion, defenses just can’t afford to focus on any particular player. For Barcelona, this is a formula that could theoretically work to similar effect if all their 3 stars gel together; there’s only so much attention you can give Messi when you have Neymar and Suarez ready to pounce on any opportunities. In a competition like La Liga where dropping points at any stage might prove crucial, having enough firepower up front to suffocate opponents and be ‘covered’ in the event of an off day for one of the forwards is a huge boost.

Needless to say, the addition of Suarez can also have an impact on the big matches, against La Liga’s best and in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Suarez is one of those players who can decide any match himself in a moment of inspiration; he’s not quite Messi but he did almost inspire Liverpool to the Premier League title last season – he was the undisputed best player in the league over the 2013-2014 season. In Suarez, Barcelona have signed a player that could genuinely take them to the next level if he succeeds. If there’s been a clear flaw post-Guardiola it’s that Barcelona’s attack became stale and far too dependent on Messi, but with Suarez joining Neymar up front that could be very well about to change, which would spell big trouble for Barcelona’s opponents both domestically and in Europe.

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