Malcom comes to Barcelona but how will they line up?
Barcelona have hijacked the transfer of Malcom from Bordeaux to Roma with a €41m bid at the eleventh hour and the mediaverse has expectedly gone gaga over it. But does he really fit into the plans of the Blaugrana?
Roma's sporting director Ramón Rodríguez Verdejo who is affectionately called as Monchi is an ex-Spanish player and currently heads all transfer negotiations at the Italian club. After extensive deal talks with the French club Bordeaux and the player's agent, Monchi confirmed that a deal was agreed in principle and the player was due to board a flight heading for Rome but Bordeaux declined the transfer at the last moment.
Even though the deal was not finalized by the player's signature, AS Roma are looking into legal actions if they can find any untoward angle against either Malcom's agent Fernando Garcia or the French club themselves.
With Lionel Messi preferring the right-hand side role in a 3 pronged attack for Barcelona and Malcom having played his entire career on the right wing this deal looks to have been done more out of spite than any tactical underlining.
AS Roma had dramatically knocked out Barcelona on away goals in last season's Champions League at the quarter-final stage after securing a 3-0 home win in the second leg after losing 1-4 to at the Camp Nou in the first leg.
The spite angle is not just towards AS Roma but towards Monchi as well. He has been asked by the Blaugrana to join as their technical secretary on a couple of occasions by their president Josep Maria Bartomeu but Monchi prefers to carry out his trade in Italy.
In the meantime, Barcelona have wasted no time and already unveiled Malcom and the club is already considering it a success after spending an entire season without adequately replacing Neymar - a season where they were forced to a 4-4-2 which can be considered a minor blip in their extensively flamboyant 4-3-3 in recent history. But how will the Latin American flair of Messi (Argentina), Suarez (Uruguay) and Malcom (Brazil) line up?
Ousmane Dembélé is twenty-one years old and has a World Cup Winners medal with France and will most likely give Malcom, who is the same age as him, a run for his money. But after failing to gel with the Barcelona front line last year after two unfortunate injuries, Valverde might just experiment with Malcom who is sure to develop and gain further potential. Continuation with the 4-4-2 is still very much on the cards.
Barcelona's 4-4-2 resembles a lopsided 4-3-3 most of the times with the midfield going left and the right forward dropping deeper to not be caught offside.
He retains position and while the opposition defence is attracted towards and closes down the left-ish midfield, a long ball is passed to the RF who cuts in. This is where a high-quality RF is required by Barcelona who can receive at ease and burst in with speed.
Lionel Messi can still do it but it is obvious that the board considers that plans for the future are required and the investment in Ousmane and Malcom is a testimony to that.
The lopsided 4-4-3 also creates intentional pockets where they close in and diffuse out enemy attacks. Against weaker opposition Barcelona are well expected to maintain their gorgeous 4-3-3 keeping alive the legacy of Pep Guardiola's mentor and innovator extreme - Johan Cruyff.
Suárez was a deadly right-forward while he was at Liverpool which created a lot of tension between him and Manchester United's left-back Patrice Evra with charges of racial abuse striking up as well but at Barcelona, Suárez is more centrally motivated.
Barcelona uses that to devastating effect as well. If the front three dribbled to the right, their left midfielder Coutinho would sneak into the left and, before the defence can recompose, latch on to a lateral pass and cut in and eventually feed the right again, if not shooting straight.
This is where Malcom comes in and has to live up to the expectations at Barcelona. Watching Messi do it with such sublime perfection, he has the biggest shoes to fill.
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