3 players who could fill Andres Iniesta's boots at Barcelona
Barcelona and Andres Iniesta parted company after an association of over two decades. The 34 year old left the Spanish champions for a transfer to Japanese outfit Vissel Kobe.
Barcelona and everyone linked with the club know there is a massive void to be filled. The Catalans are still looking for Xavi’s replacement three years since his departure, but hope that Andres Iniesta’s will arrive promptly.
We take a look at three players currently in Barcelona who could be fantastic replacements for the legendary midfielder.
#1 Phillipe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho is already amongst the world’s best attacking midfielders. The 26 year old joined Barcelona on a multi-million euro transfer from English giants Liverpool in January 2018.
Since his arrival in Catalonia, Coutinho was ruled out for about three weeks after an injury he suffered at Liverpool. However, since his debut in February for Barca, the Brazilian international has been fantastic for them.
In his half season at the club, Coutinho made 22 appearances across all competitions under Ernesto Valverde. He scored 10 goals and assisted 6 times in the run in.
Philippe Coutinho already has a huge number of goals and assists despite being a midfielder and winger in most matches. His long range shots are matched by very few in his industry, and his ability to shrug off defenders by dribbling past them also stands out.
He is an archetypal number 10 playmaker, and his vision and passing ability has earned him the name of ‘Little Magician’ at the club. He seems the most ideal replacement for Andres Iniesta in my opinion. Playing Ivan Rakitic alongside him in the centre of the park could pay huge dividends.
#2 Arthur Melo
Arthur Melo is one of Barcelona’s fresh signings in this summer’s transfer window. The Catalans signed him from Brazilian giants Gremio after having him in their sights for over a year.
The 21 year old has been deemed the perfect fit in Barcelona’s system by many pundits and experts of the game. His game is discrete and not glossy. While his playing style is completely opposite Iniesta’s, Arthur could be a wonderful replacement for Barcelona’s departed star.
He has also been likened to Xavi Hernandez. Apart from just being a threat up front, Arthur also falls back to defend, and helps with the dirty work. This will ensure that the other midfielder - which is likely to be Rakitic, concentrates more on the attacking front.
His passing rate was unmatched in the Brazilian league during his last season there. The 21 year old controlled the tempo, and ran the team’s engines in their last two Copa Libertadores campaigns. Gremio emerged as champions in the South American equivalent of the Champions League in the previous two seasons.
All stats via transfermarkt