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Barcelona’s dilemma over five players for the full-back position

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Backed into a corner due to monetary constraints, Barcelona will be obligated to offload players from their ranks to restore financial equilibrium.

Apart from a select group deemed untouchable, many players could be on the chopping block this summer.

And the most vulnerable areas are those with excess competition, where Barça could freely trim the roster without facing many repercussions, namely the full-backs.

Moving forward, Barcelona faces an interesting dilemma: whether to rely on their existing talent or part ways with some of the current options.

Specifically, Joao Cancelo, Alex Valle, Alejandro Balde, Hector Fort, and Julian Araujo are the five options Barcelona will possess next season.

Except for Balde, who is seen as a long-term asset, the sports administration must decide what to do with the other players.

Alex Valle

The young defender, who is now on loan at Levante, has been among Barcelona’s most impressive loanees thus far this season.

Valle plies his trade on the left flank and has made over 20 appearances in the second division, establishing himself as a constant for Levante.

His ability to provide overlapping runs and offer width while also chiming in with solid defensive contributions has been hailed considerably.

However, the 19-year-old has garnered a fair amount of interest owing to his prominent performances this season.

If Barcelona receives a decent sum for him, Valle could end up hitting the exit door. Reports have previously argued that Las Palmas have shown interest in the teenage prospect.

Julian Araujo

Araujo’s loan spell has similarly gone according to plan, with the Mexican right-back thriving at Las Palmas.

Having moved to the Spanish club last summer, he has flourished. Araujo has played in over 20 La Liga games this season, proving to be a mainstay under coach Garcia Pimienta.

In addition to offering width and composure in tight areas, what has been most impressive about him is his defensive acumen, with the defender averaging seven defensive actions per game.

Considering the uncertainty surrounding Jules Kounde and Joao Cancelo’s future, Araujo has a strong possibility of featuring in the team next season.

That said, given Barcelona’s unhealthy financial situation, offers for him are bound to be studied in the transfer window.

Joao Cancelo

Cancelo’s future has been called into question a great deal over the past few weeks. The player is presently on loan from Manchester City and could either be signed permanently or returned to the English club.

Cancelo has been availed on both flanks for Barcelona this season, with the Portuguese making up for Balde’s absence at left-back since the turn of the year.

While he has produced several solid displays, his defensive presence has left much to be desired on the biggest of stages, which was especially exemplified against PSG and Real Madrid.

In fact, reports have also stated that Barcelona will not go out of their way to secure a permanent purchase for Cancelo.

Hector Fort

Hector Fort’s meteoric rise this season has given Barcelona an additional option to rely on in the full-back position.

Although he naturally prefers to play on the right-hand side, his versatility has seen him play on the opposite flank a fair few times for Barcelona this season.

Fort has even come up with some promising displays with the first team, notably shining against Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey knockout stages. He has played eight games in all competitions and even racked up two assists.

The 17-year-old will be sure to have suitors knocking on his door in the forthcoming transfer window, especially since Fort’s present deal with Barcelona expires in 2025, and he has a meager €6 million release clause that other teams might exploit.

However, it has been reported that Hector Fort is expected to get his contract renewed by Barcelona as a result of Xavi’s choice to stay.

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