Having bid adieu to the legendary Sergio Busquets during the last summer, FC Barcelona searched far and wide for an able replacement for their former captain.
However, financial constraints meant that they were forced to look for a cost-effective solution and ended up settling on another former La Masia talent in Oriol Romeu.
The former Chelsea and Southampton midfielder arrived from Girona for a nominal fee of €3.4 million and soon became a regular fixture in Xavi Hernandez’s setup.
Apart from the low fee, his experience in the Premier League, performances at Girona, and familiarity with the Barça philosophy made the club take a punt on him.
And, the gamble appeared to have paid off, with Romeu making a strong start to his second stint in Barcelona, starting seven matches in a row, putting in some solid, if not spectacular, performances at the base of the midfield.
Things going downhill
However, things have been going downhill for Romeu at Barcelona for a while now and it has become a matter of concern for those within the club, reports Javi Miguel of AS.
After some impressive first few games, in which he stood out due to his physicality and ball recovery, the Spaniard has begun to fade alarmingly, especially after his disastrous game against Celta Vigo.
Since that game, Romeu has started just three of Barça’s eight La Liga matches, being relegated to the bench in important matches against Sevilla, Real Madrid, and Real Sociedad.
Romeu has appeared lacking in all aspects, be it with or without the ball, which has led to his reduced role within the side and growing concerns among the staff and the management.
Mental block behind Romeu’s dip?
As per the report, the Barcelona dressing room believes that it is a mental block on the part of Romeu which has led to his sudden decline in form in recent weeks.
The locker room believes that the 32-year-old has the talent and qualities to play for Barcelona. But they are of the belief that the pressure of wearing the Blaugrana shirt has weighed down on him.
As such, the objective of the Barça coaches now is to get Romeu’s confidence and mental level back up, as they are aware that the team needs all the players, especially after Gavi’s long-term injury.
At the same time, Barcelona are already looking at the possibility of reinforcing the pivot position next summer. Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi remains a top target while Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich is also an option.