Some changes were going to be imminent as Barcelona hosted Sevilla in round 25 of La Liga 2020/21, but in a change no-one saw coming, Ronald Koeman has elected to revert to a three-man backline. Oscar Mingueza will likely take up the role on the right of the centre, with Clement Lenglet flanking Gerard Pique from the other side. Marc-Andre ter Stegen takes the spot between the posts.
Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba start as wing-backs, as part of the stretched four-man midfield. They will be providing width while Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets hold their own in the centre of the park as the double pivot.
Pedri starts, as well, but presumably on the left side of the front-three in an attacking midfield capacity. Ousmane Dembele will take charge of the other side, in a slightly asymmetrical 3-4-2-1, with Lionel Messi leading the line as the false 9.
Confirmed XI: ter Stegen; Mingueza, Pique, Lenglet; Dest, Busquets, de Jong, Alba; Dembele, Messi, Pedri
Huge changes tonight by Koeman in the hope of countering Sevilla’s incredible work-rate in the centre of the park. Packing the midfield might just be the correct move from Barcelona, and one can hope a front-three without Antoine Griezmann provides enough off-the-ball movement to attack Sevilla’s box in just the right moments.
Report: Barcelona accept defeat in pursuit of Inter Milan striker
According to reports from Corriere della Sera (relayed by SempreInter), Barcelona have now given up on their pursuit of Inter Milan striker, Lautaro Martinez. The 23-year-old has enjoyed a phenomenal season upfront with Romelu Lukaku, and he is a hot prospect in Europe. He has several skills that make him suited to a team like Barça, who have been chasing him for over a year now.
Inter were initially demanding northwards of €100m for the striker before the start of the 20/21 season. With their financial struggles, the Catalan club were unable to cope with their demands. However, the rumours linking Martinez to Barça did not die down in the months that followed. This is due to the Blaugrana’s dire need for a striker.
The Garnet and the Blue have been considering several options, with the Argentinian striker being only one out of a talented bunch including Aguero, Depay, Haaland, and more. Martinez was hotly tipped to join Barça, apparently wanting a union with his fellow Argentine teammate Lionel Messi.
However, with Inter’s meteoric rise to success, and Martinez’ key role in the team, it seems that he is no longer going to leave the club. The Milan based club is head and shoulders above all other teams in the Serie A, and look set to win their first title in eleven years.
The Argentine forward has played a huge part in Inter’s incredible campaign, scoring fifteen and assisting five in 30 matches this league campaign.
Antonio Conte has done a brilliant job with Inter, and he has also developed Martinez into a phenomenal striker; one who can both score goals as well as drop deep and create the play. With his immense pairing with Lukaku and the inevitable success of Inter, it seems impossible that a transfer is on the card for the young striker any time soon.