Barcelona may terminate the contract of the team’s top scorer
The Catalan club’s need for a scoring center-forward or at least a super-performing attacking player like Salah is on the surface. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, signed from Arsenal in the winter, is good, but his age at 32 and the Napoleonic ambitions of the Blues Granatas will drag them into the transfer market anyway. The hero of recent rumors of a link-up with Barça is Robert Lewandowski, allegedly rushing to the Blaugrana camp with amazing desire, but Bayern’s management has already made it clear several times that the Pole will have to stay until the summer of 2023 – until the end of his contract.
There is no shortage of center-forwards in the soccer world, but many Barça fans and not only have a quite logical question – what the club does not suit its top scorer in the Primera, Memphis Depay, who scored 12 goals in the championship and 1 in the Europa League this season. And the question instantly becomes the answer. Just remember, by name, the best players in Barcelona’s offense since the late 90s: Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Eto’o, Henri, Neymar, Suarez, Messi. Goal machines, figures who each contributed from the significant to the legendary.
Shallow for a grandee
Lionel Messi, who has faced sometimes unjustified criticism in past years, Messi, who has long been associated with a strong decline in the game, in his last season for Barça scored 38 goals and made 14 assists in 47 games! Luis Suarez, who was not wanted by Ronald Koeman, scored 21 goals and made 12 assists in 36 games for the Catalans last season. The Blaugrana forward will always be expected to have a goal-scoring extravaganza, a performance for two strikers.
Yes, Depay came to Barça as a free agent. Yes, Memphis helped the club during the crisis and scored important goals. If it wasn’t for the injury, the stats would obviously be better. But if we were talking about the conditional Sevilla or Atlético de Madrid, those factors would have been in favor of the ironclad decision to keep the player in the squad. In the case of Barcelona, which even amid the devastation will be treated as a contender for the Champions League final and champion of the Primera Liga, these factors are weak. And the fact that Depay signed from the wishes of his compatriot Koeman, who worked with the player in the national team, gives the situation an understandable skepticism under current mentor Xavi, who has a different coaching mindset in almost every component.
The Blaugrana seems to be on the mend. Xavi is bringing the team back to its former character. Will the team be up to the challenge next season with Obameyang, Depay and Torres in attack? Dembele looks like he will be gone. And it’s hard to talk about Ansu Fati because of his health problems. Adama Traore, Braithwaite and Luc de Jong are not considered for different and understandable reasons. And the answer would be quite realistically pessimistic – even with Pierre-Emerick and Memphis’s breakneck efficiency, everyone won’t be enough and somehow not as much as they’d like. And the club management, and the coaches, and even more so the fans.
But then another question arises – who, if not Lewandowski? Laporta has already indicated that the club will not spend big money. Priority, of course, on free agents or players with expiring contracts. According to recent rumors, the Catalans are interested in Marcus Rashford (Man United), Darwin Nunez (Benfica) and Lautaro Martinez (Inter). In terms of level of play at Barça, of course, we want to send Lautaro, but we remember Laporta. Nunez is young and expensive, with a long-term contract. Selling Depay and bringing in the surrendered Rashford is a Darwin Prize-winning idea, just not Nunez. Signing a conditional or real Edinson Cavani would also look like a two-fold decision.
ESPN recently reported that the Barcelona management has decided not to strengthen the attacking line this summer. According to the source, the club believes that Fati, Aubameyang, Torres and Depay may well cope with the goals. They also expect to be able to negotiate a new contract with Dembele. On paper it looks quite viable, and if you think hard about it, quite logical and adequate. Unless one of the links drops out.
However, journalist Luis Miguelsans launches almost the opposite information. According to him, Barça’s priority is the sale of Depay this summer. The club already has two offers on the player and is open to new ones, as it wants to make money on Memphis. Depay’s contract runs through the summer of 2023, and the blaugrana does not want to lose him as a free agent in its financial difficulties. The insider noted that in the absence of good offers, Barça will keep the Dutchman and consider a two-year contract extension.
In the end, as always, we have that each decision will have its minuses and pluses, potential risks or benefits. Depay is a working option for Barcelona, but everyone, as always, is not enough and wants more, and one can certainly understand that point of view in this situation.