It seems almost certain that Barcelona will be the next destination of the Brazillian gem, Neymar, in 2014. Although the truth is still vague, but it is believed that both Santos and Barcelona already have verbal agreement.
Right now, Neymar is the hottest talent in the world and every European giant is desperately trying to hunt his signature. He tears the defence singlehandedly for fun in Brazillian league and even delivers Copa Liberatadores back to Vila Belmiro Stadium after 48 years of waiting. The time when he brings the ball with his foot is the time when every defence trembles in fear as he easily skips any challenge with his lightning speed, dazzling technique, and close dribble. Although he failed in national team both in Copa America and Olympic, there is no denying that Neymar has great potential behind him and under the right hand, he could become another worldclass player or even a legend.
Barcelonistas already imagine how lethal will be their frontline with Neymar and Messi running havoc among the defenders. But, it won’t go that easily as the theory goes. As the title mentions, why Barcelona isn’t the right club for Neymar and why the Blaugrana shouldn’t sign him ? There are some logical reasons and here we are :
1. Tactical reason
Where should Barca place him when Neymar already arrives ? His favourite position is as the left forward and then drifting inside. But, the problem is, it is what Iniesta used to do and he still does it. If somehow Barca uses 2 players in such same role, it will be a waste and the attack will be monotone and easily anticipated. The best and most recent example is when Inter was defeated 1-3 by AS Roma. Inter used 4 players to overload their left flank, but Roma’s defence coped with it comfortably. Another solution is moving Neymar or Iniesta to another role, but will it work as good as the current tactic does?
Bad news for any Barcelona fans, the biggest problem is yet to be written. The biggest problem with Neymar is, he is a goalgetter and Barca already have Messi. In such modern football which emphazies on possession, 2 goalgetters means disaster for a team especially for Barcelona. It means less service for the forward and less support in midfield. Also, Messi has been Barcelona’s goalgetter and –unless any drastic change- he will always be. Look at Ibrahimovic and David Villa case. Both of them are prolific strikers in their entire career, but too bad their position collides with Messi. The former was dumped and the latter must adapt himselft by shifting onto another role to support Messi.
The most reasonable solution is by shifting Messi onto support-striker position just like he is deployed in national team. But, everybody knows that Messi is more lethal when he is positioned in central areas, enjoying freerole, and interchanging the position with his teammates. To put him as the secondstriker alone is terrible as it is Barca himself who put limitation on Messi. But, it will be the same case if Barca put Neymar as support-striker. Barca will not be able to maximize both their talent by limiting one of them onto support-striker role.
2. High ego
Being hailed and exalted by entire nation in such tender age, Neymar has very high ego and he will throw any tantrum boldly whenever something doesn’t go coherently with his way. Once he never passed anybody when his request to take penalty kick was rejected. As if it was not bad enough, he yelled at his captain and his coach too. And that’s only one from many examples. And the last time Barca have the player with such an ego is Ibrahimovic which outcome we already knew, dismissed. Right now, Barca’s dressing room is in harmony and they must already learn from history to keep the harmony that way.
And his high ego could lead to another way including how the tactic will be deployed. Will he accept the role as Messi’s support like Villa does ? I don’t think so. His playstyle tells everything. He always wants the ball. He dribbles a lot. He could berate his teammates if they don’t pass the ball to him. He always want to be main goalgetter and main star. Does it bear resemblence to Ibra ? Yes, it does.
Ibrahimovic story tells us that if you want to play for Barcelona, you must play for the team, not vice versa. Remember, Messi doesn’t become world best player because of his skill alone, but it is mainly because how he synchronizes himself perfectly with the team and the team responds positively by maximizing his true magic. The big question mark lingers, can Neymar change his on and off the field in order to survive in Barcelona ?
To quote Pat Nevin, the former Chelsea winger,”Neymar lives in an alternative universe where the slightest brush leads to mortal pain that looks like it is going to kill him and then 20 seconds later he is magically better”. Barca don’t have to add another stain to their already notorious reputation as divers club. The composition of Busquet, Dani Alves, Pedro, and Neymar will even make Broadway jealous.
4. La Masia
Why would Barca sign such expensive player if they can produce by themselves ? Admitted, the likes of Tello, Cuenca, and Pedro are pale in comparison to Neymar if we weigh in their talents. But, they already prove they could do something better than him. They are the type of players that Barca need and they slot their position correctly and seamlessly. Pedro roams around frontline, ready to take up any pass from Xavi-Messi-Iniesta or distract the defenders to give the way for the. Tello and Cuenca provides the width that Barca desperately need. The most important is, they have been playing together since they were young, they understand each other, they understand how Barcelona’s way are. If Neymar comes in, he would still have a lot to learn and there isn’t any guarantee that he will gel in with the team.
5. Unproven in big stages and overrated
Neymar shone when he led Santos won Copa Libertadores so it is normal for everybody to expect him shining as well in Copa America. But it didn’t happen, he failed miserably instead. He dribbled when he should pass only to see himself being dispossessed. And don’t forget his diving habit which irritated every spectator even the Brazillian. Fast forward to Club World Cup final when he was against Barcelona. Admitted, Barcelona is on the different league with Santos. But, if he really wanted to compete in European, at least he had to give some notable nuisance among Barca defence. Too bad it never happened as Barca comfortably handled him. In Olympic games, he almost justified his reputation by bringing Brazil to the final only to lose in final by Mexico. He did show some glimpses of skill to dazzle us. And the loss can’t be singlehandedly blamed to him alone as football is a teamgame. But, if he really played living up to his reputation, he could and should show us more than what he did.
Let’s compare him with Messi and Ronaldo story. When MU met Sporting Lisbon in friendly match, Cristiano Ronaldo quickly caught the former’s eyes and even the players requested Sir Alex to sign him. When Messi met Juventus in Joan Gamper cup, he quickly attracted Capello and Juventus board. Even the latter immediately made a verbal offer, only to be ultimately rejected of course. I am not belittling the value of Campeonato Paulista and Copa Libertadores. If Neymar wants to emulate them, at least he should impress in big stage such as Copa America, CWC, and Olympic. Unfortunately, he didn’t.
If he really moves to Barcelona, there isn’t single guarantee that he will develop into better player. This is not a world of Football Manager game where every player will surely get better and better. This is the real world where a little mistake could turn a light into shadow in the blink of an eye.
Another big reason why Barca shouldn’t sign him. How much will the transfer cost ? If the likes of Lucas Moura, who is a mere substitute in Brazil Olympic team, has 35 million euro pricetag, then we can already estimate Neymar will cost around 45-50 million euro. It is just ridiculous. Barca isn’t Manchester City or PSG which has infinite cash. Instead, they have a lot of debt burden to be paid. So, Barca must consider their transfers wisely and purchasing Neymar sure isn’t wise move.
If you look on all the reasons above, really, there isn’t any logical argument to bring in Neymar with such hefty transfer fee. It is as if Barca never learn from their mistake. They have done a lot of transfer blunder (Chygrinsky, Ibra, Hleb, Keirrison etc) and they still intend to put their bet their 50 million euro on unproven boy.
Also, the offence isn’t the main issue of current team. The department that needs immediate improvement are defence and midfielder. Barcelona couldn’t rely on Puyol and Xavi forever. They aren’t Zanetti who still could play every 3 days in 1 season long at the age of 38. When they are injured, Barca simply couldn’t find equal replacement. Thiago Alcantara is yet to reach the level of Xavi and Fabregas seems to go further and further from playmaker image. Puyol’s case is the worse. Pique isn’t reliable central defender, let alone Busquet and Mascherano. So, why don’t Barca spend their money on right place ?
After all such analysis, actually there is still a chance for Neymar to prove he is the right man for Barca. There is still an opportunity for him to develop into better player and lifting Barca into even greater height. But that only happens if Neymar could blend within the team, in which I find very difficult. If Barca haven’t thought and prepared how to deal with Neymar, they better cancel the transfer plan before it spells another disaster.