Aubameyang and Adama Traore signings gives the Barcelona team a new look. Despite not being on the same level as the famed ‘MSN,’ they offer Xavi with options for the rest of this season.
Ronald Koeman lamented Barcelona’s lack of attacking options earlier this season, blaming the club’s poor form on a dearth of attackers.
After a January transfer window focused on recruiting players who can both create and score goals, Koeman’s successor, Xavi Hernandez, now has ten players he can call on upfront to save the team’s season.
Xavi’s goal between now and the end of the season is to help Barca finish in the top four and qualify for next season’s Champions League, after the Blaugrana were eliminated from Europe’s premier club competition early in December after scoring just two goals in six group-stage games.
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Due to injuries, Koeman was left without wingers Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele, as well as forwards Sergio Aguero and Martin Braithwaite, and was fired after a lackluster 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano in October.
“We need to reinforce the team, especially in attack,” Xavi declared after entering, and the club responded by signing Ferran Torres, Adama Traore, and, after a dramatic deadline day, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as well as winger and creativity hub Dani Alves, in the January window.
Xavi now faces a different challenge than Koeman: he must figure out the best method to put together a new-look attacking trident from the various choices he has at his disposal, with even the much-maligned loan signing Luuk de Jong impressing in recent weeks.
Barcelona should be substantially more lethal in the second half of the season, even if it cannot match the iconic ‘MSN‘ three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar.
Torres was the first attacker Barca signed, costing €55 million (£46 million/$62 million) to bring him back to Spain from Manchester City under Pep Guardiola’s supervision.
And, regardless of how the assault is set up, he’ll be one of the final three players.Since his early years at Valencia, the winger has learnt to play as a false nine for both City and Spain, which has resulted in a significant improvement in his goal output.
He appeared to be set to stay at Barca in a similar role in the coming months, but that was before Aubameyang’s arrival.
Despite De Jong’s comeback and Braithwaite’s return from injury, Xavi was desperate to sign a new center striker in January, with Juventus’ Alvaro Morata his top target.
However, given that his own club, Atletico Madrid, is in a top-four race with Barcelona, the trade is too complicated to make off.
Barcelona’s new-look XI (4-3-3 ): Ter Stegen; Alves-Pique-Araujo-Alba; Busquets-Gavi-Pedri; Traore-Aubameyang-Torres