The Hard Tackle examines Sergi Roberto’s current situation at FC Barcelona and what the future holds for the versatile star this summer.
The recent appointment of Joan Laporta serves as a breath of fresh air, in what has been a turbulent one and a half year at FC Barcelona.
The 58-year-old has a proven track record and is set to ring in the changes following his election as the club president. In fact, a recent report from Mundo Deportivo has already shed some light on Laporta’s desire to extend the expiring contract of key players including Lionel Messi.
In addition to the Argentine icon, the likes of Ilaix Moriba and Ousmane Dembele are also tipped for renewals under Laporta. However, one player who faces a more uncertain future at the club is Sergi Roberto.
It appears Laporta is unsure about the Spaniard’s prospects at FC Barcelona. As a result, he has now given the charge to Ronald Koeman to decide his fate, with the club reportedly open to a €60 million sale in the summer, should the Dutchman deem Roberto as surplus to the requirements.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at Roberto’s prospects at Barcelona and what the future holds for the former La Masia graduate.
If made available by Koeman, Roberto is destined to fetch a lot of attention in the transfer market, due to the player’s compatibility in a possession-based system.
It won’t be surprising to see Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel eyeing a move for the Barcelona star in the summer. The Blues do need a solid backup for Reece James at right wing-back – someone who can offer a more technical presence in the build-up play.
Roberto’s ability to play as a central midfielder should also offer additional cover for Tuchel as far as the midfield unit is concerned – making him an ideal target for the Blues.
In addition to Chelsea, Premier League rivals Manchester United may also look to sign as the desired alternative for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, although clubs like Juventus and Inter Milan won’t be far behind either.
Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer has witnessed a massive improvement in Luke Shaw’s performances following the arrival of Alex Telles. He will be hoping to have the same impact in Wan-Bissaka’s performances, by bringing in someone like Roberto, who may also serve as a backup for the likes of Scott McTominay as well as a replacement for the ageing Nemanja Matic.
However, one ideal destination for Sergi Roberto is Paris Saint-Germain. Following the footsteps of Dani Alves, the Spaniard might want to move to the French capital, where Mauricio Pochettino is eyeing a right-back following the club’s inconsistencies in the ongoing campaign.
The 29-year-old’s would be an ideal fit in Pochettino’s efficient system that places an emphasis on build-up play while his experience could be useful as the Ligue 1 giants look to stamp their authority in Europe.
Assessing the price-tag
Barcelona’s reported €60 million price-tag for Sergi Roberto is sure to raise some eyebrows in the current financial climate.
Just to put things into perspective, one of France’s best midfielders in Houssem Aouar was available for a meagre €50 million last summer while a host of talented stars are set to be available for a lower fee in the upcoming transfer window.
Roberto, in contrast, pales in comparison as the Spaniard, at the age of 29, is not a future prospect anymore. It is also fair to point out that the player has struggled with injuries over the past couple of years, raising question marks over his fitness going forward.
Moreover, his current contract at the club expires at the end of next season, meaning any club willing to wait until 2022 could sign him for free instead of having to splash €60 million this summer.
As such, Barcelona’s reported valuation of Roberto is perhaps a bit far-fetched and they may have to lower their asking price if they are to attract any suitors for the versatile midfielder. From their own perspective, though, the price tag makes sense, considering their financial struggles and the desperate need to raise funds through player sales.
Having said that, anything in the range of €25-30 million could be reasonable enough for a player of his calibre and experience, although FC Barcelona may have managed to squeeze a little more had it not been for the Coronavirus pandemic that has inflicted a financial crisis in European football over the past 12 months.
As far as the player is concerned, a move away from the Nou Camp does indeed make sense as he is clearly in need of more first-team football in order to revive his career after a couple of poor seasons.
In the current Barcelona squad, Roberto, it seems, has fallen behind Sergino Dest and Oscar Mingueza in the pecking order while in midfield, he is unlikely the get the nod ahead of the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Miralem Pjanic and even the ageing Sergio Busquets.
However, it will be interesting to see whether Ronald Koeman retains his services as a utility player, knowing he can play in a variety of positions that could help Barcelona in the event of a potential injury crisis.
Roberto himself would relish the opportunity to prove himself once again, having given it his all and sacrificed a great deal over the course of his Barcelona career. But unfortunately, that appears to be an unlikely proposition, and it would perhaps be a wiser option for the midfielder to settle for a move elsewhere.
Chelsea, for one, could be an interesting destination while PSG, too, could offer him the opportunity of not only playing regularly but also fight for silverware, including the UEFA Champions League.