Following Pedro’s move to Chelsea FC, the role of back-up to Mess-Suarez-Neymar is now up for grabs, at least until the new year when the likes of Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal can be registered. With the transfer ban ruling out any new singing for FC Barcelona till January, we look at three potential suitors who can fill the void.
The arrival of the Turkish winger Arda Turan in the summer led to Pedro considering his future despite signing a new deal in the summer.
Pedro eventually moved to Premier League champions Chelsea FC last week, having scored a crucial winner in the Catalan giants’ win over Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup.
The void left behind by Pedro could be filled by Turan – the player who was the catalyst for the Spaniard’s departure. However, the transfer ban on FC Barcelona mean they cannot register him to play until January. The same problem persists in case they want to sign a new player to replace Pedro.
Hence, here are three players within the club that can replace the man from the Canary Island, who was such a wonderful player to bring off the bench or to fill in in case of any injury to Messi, Suarez, or Neymar.
1 – Rafinha Alcantara
Rafinha is the brother of former La Masia graduate and current Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara. Much like with Thiago, big things are expected from the 22 year old Rafinha.
Rafinha started out on the left wing, the position that Pedro would have occupied in the game against Athletic Bilbao. He is, however, a player who prefers to play an attacking role from the centre, where his ability to spot a pass comes in handy. He also has strength and vision, which was visible from the wide left at times against Athletic. However, he was isolated at times and found the going tough as the game wore on.
Rafinha needs time to adjust to his new role if he plays there. For now, he does not seem to be (and understandably so) comfortable playing out wide.
2 – Munir El Haddadi
One of Luis Enrique’s first acts as manager of FC Barcelona was to draft Munir in to the first team squad. The winger, who has Moroccan roots, duly rewarded the faith of the manager by putting in a string of wonderful performances that saw him nominated for the 2014 Golden Boy award for the ‘Best Young Player’ in Europe. However, as the season wore on, his form started to dip and he eventually faded away.
The return of Luis Suarez from suspension saw him being sent back to the Barca B squad, which only resulted in a further loss of morale. Munir has tons of pace, dribbling ability and at the tender age of 19, is only bound to improve if handled in the right way. The departure of Pedro might be the catalyst to launch him again.
3 -Sandro Ramirez
Sandro was used as a late substitute by Luis Enrique in 12 FC Barcelona games during the 2014-15 season. With his pace and trickery, Sandro was a decent impact player. He has also featured in the three games FC Barcelona played prior to the commencement of the league season.
His career graph however, has been up and down, with his performances electric at the start and then fading away. The Las Palmas born winger will need to show a lot more consistency if he has to upstage Munir and Rafinha for the slot vacated by Pedro. He does have an edge over Munir, but Rafinha is likely to give him the toughest competition for it.
The trio, for now, remain the only three realistic prospects to replace Pedro.