Ousmane Dembele’s imminent departure has opened the doors for Barcelona to sign a new right-back. The defensive position is the squad’s weakest department by quite some distance and has been their Achilles heel for a long time.
According to reports from Alex Pintanel, the Blaugrana have an agreement in place with Real Valladolid right-back Ivan Fresneda. However, there is no consensus in the board over his signing.
An inexperienced, yet long-term option
At just 18 years of age, Fresneda is still new to the highest level of football. However, he promises a high ceiling and a long-term solution to Barcelona’s problem.
Last season, the right-back made 22 appearances for Real Valladolid and created three big chances in that duration. Further, he oversaw two clean sheets and averaged close to ten defensive actions per game.
Prominent figures in the club administration like Deco are willing to take the bet on Fresneda despite his inexperience. His release clause stands at €20 million and the player has turned down several suitors to wait for the Catalans.
Xavi, however, is pushing for the board to sign a seasoned player who would provide guaranteed results.
Joao Cancelo, the well-placed alternative
The Manchester City right-back is one of the biggest names in world football and has made himself well-known for his attacking flair.
Xavi loves the 29-year-old star’s profile and sees him as a good fit for his system. The only downside would appear to be his age and poor record of discipline at his previous clubs.
Earlier today, Fabrizio Romano reported that Barcelona have reached an agreement over personal terms with Cancelo and that a deal was close.
Will Barcelona sign one or two right-backs?
Joan Laporta & co. are clearly negotiating with both Manchester City and Real Valladolid for their respective defenders.
They no longer see the incorporation of a new forward to be a priority, and the funds received from Dembele’s departure will be channelled for the right-back department and possibly a creative midfielder.
It thus remains to be seen which character the Blaugranas prioritise more – experience or longevity.
Another interesting alternative would be to sign both players and send Fresneda on loan to facilitate his development while Cancelo fills the void temporarily.