It has been a topsy-turvy start to the season for FC Barcelona after a summer that brought hope and expectations galore.
Having won the La Liga crown last season, the Catalans went on the offensive in the summer to try and reinforce the side as much as possible to complement the core pieces of their long-term project.
One of those pieces was left-back Alejandro Balde, when enjoyed a stellar breakout season in 2022-23, and was one of the cornerstones of a rock-solid backline that was arguably the biggest reason behind the Blaugrana’s two titles.
However, since the beginning of this new campaign, things have been shaky to say the least.
Balde, among many others, seems to have had a dip in form and does not look to be quite at the same level he was last season, and recent reports from BTV esports suggest that this has not gone unnoticed at the club.
Complacency setting in?
On multiple occasions last season, it was proven that Balde is just the kind of profile Barcelona need at left-back.
His exceptional pace, dribbling ability and sheer confidence to burst past his man and also make recoveries on the defensive end proved to be a huge asset for the Catalans.
After initially proving that he was rough around the edges in terms of his final-third deliveries and general decision-making, he also looked to be steadily improving on it last season.
But this campaign, he seems to have regressed again in that department and even defensively, he has been caught out of position far too many times but has seemingly not put in enough effort to get back.
He has not quite taken on his man enough while pushing forward, and Barcelona are seemingly keeping a close eye on this.
There is no doubt that he is a special player, and about the fact that someone like Marcos Alonso, despite his occasional threat on the ball, is not the right choice of personnel for this team.
The lack of serious competition and the fact that he recently signed a five-year deal at Barcelona could mean complacency has set in, but the club also believe that Balde’s non call-up to the Spain side this time around could serve as motivation.
They may also look to utilise Joao Cancelo at left-back given his pedigree in that role to try and push Balde to rediscover the tremendous level is capable of.