The sands of time slip rapidly through the hourglass as the summer transfer window enters its final stage.
Barcelona have been linked abundantly with Joao Cancelo, who has reportedly already agreed to personal terms with the Catalan club.
But Barça are yet to reach a mutual agreement with Manchester City over the player’s transfer.
Here are four reasons why Barcelona must act with urgency to acquire the Portuegese’s signature.
Jack of all trades
Cancelo plays right-back while defending, second pivot when aiding the build-up phase, interior when progressing the ball, and attacking midfielder when conjuring plays at the edge of the box.
He significantly differs from the typical full-back. The 29-year-old is aware of how to regain possession, he contributes much to the smoothness of build-ups and boasts an exquisite dribbling skill to get out of tricky circumstances.
Barcelona are bound to benefit greatly from someone as diverse as Cancelo, who may on paper start on the right flank but possesses an innate ability to interpret differing game states.
Xavi has always shown great appreciation for players who provide such qualitative advantages and thus the player is sure to fit the Blaugranas like a glove.
Pep Guardiola utilized Cancelo as an instrumental tool to break down stubborn low blocks, which is what Barcelona tends to face for most of the league season.
Barcelona’s first phase patterns are currently highly rigid and robotic, which is not necessarily a bad thing, yet can be elevated by Cancelo’s positional fluidity.
Missing out on someone as multifaceted as him would be a great blow.
Bring the best out of Raphinha
Following Ousmane Dembele’s departure, Barcelona are expected to promote Raphinha to the role of starting right-winger.
Every aspect of Raphinha’s game indicates that he will flourish even further with the inclusion of an overlapping right-back.
He struggles to dribble consistently on the touch-line, but the Brazilian is far more comfortable at beating his man in deeper, more open spaces, which was well documented at his time with Leeds.
With Cancelo holding width and stretching the field, Raphinha will be liberated to move in-field, where he possesses the ball-striking and finishing skills to be a goal threat and provide lethal final balls.
Cancelo prides himself as a dribbling specialist and can make up for Raphinha’s tendencies to invert.
As the pair potentially combine and interchange on the right-hand side, Barcelona will be significantly lethal up front.
Provide competition to Balde
The Portuguese is being mainly sought-after for his expertise in the right-back department, but Cancelo also has ample experience plying his trade as a left-back.
Currently, Barcelona’s starting left-back is Alejandro Balde, who enjoyed a rapid rise to stardom in the previous season.
However, the 19-year-old is still vastly inexperienced to handle the reigns on his own.
His back-up, Marcos Alonso, has proven to be an inept option on many occasions, due to his waning physicality and dwindling pace.
As such, integrating Cancelo would be a smart choice to increase depth in the squad and particularly provide Balde the incentive to constantly stay on his toes, as the fear of displacement will inevitably lead to consistent performances.
With Jordi Alba previously playing that role, Balde recognized the margin for error was considerably low.
Risk of losing him to Saudi Arabia
The rise of Saudi Arabia has seen many top players get swayed by the financial allure of playing in the Middle East.
Barcelona previously lost out on the signing of Brozovic after Al Nassr entered the picture to sign him, and the same may happen with Joao Cancelo if any advancements are delayed.
In fact, Cancelo has reportedly already been handed an offer by Saudi Arabia.
At 29 years of age, the player will arguably prioritize continuation in Europe for the time being, but if Barcelona prolongs its approach, the player may be necessitated to join Saudi Arabia, considering his fall-out with Pep Guardiola.