Real Madrid or Barcelona: Making a case for Marco Reus
The winter transfer window has reached its halfway point and rumours continue to run havoc. Maybe not as much as the summer one because of certain financial restrictions clubs have, but that doesn't mean the rumour mill is quiet.
One of the players amongst those rumours is Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus. Like the past few seasons, the German is again being linked with a move away from his current club. These rumours got particularly strong, when news about Reus' release clause emerged last season. Soon, every big club was being linked to Reus, and that hasn't diminished one bit. But as time moved on, Barcelona and Real Madrid became forerunners for his signature. However, other powerhouses like Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Chelsea, PSG etc are just around the corner lurking, ready to snap him up.
Whichever team Reus does end up choosing (Madrid or Barça), it'll surely be a luxury signing for them. The big two in Spain already have their front three established, at least for the next few seasons. Barça just bought Luis Suarez, so chances of them letting him go are slim. Ronaldo returning to the Premier League is a completely different proposition and has been discussed in the past. Without hastily going into which team might sell whom, let us look into a couple of formations suitable for Reus in both teams:
How Reus will fit in at Real Madrid
For Madrid, sacrificing their striker seems like the only possibility as Ronaldo won't go cheap. So, Reus might need to play as a centre forward there. The same logic, however, doesn't apply for Barça. They can slot Reus into the team easily, if Messi drops down to play as an attacking midfielder, like he was doing at the beginning of the season.
But if you look at both these teams, accommodating Reus means sacrificing a key member of their squad.
In Madrid, Khedira is already getting shunned by Ancelotti because of his high profile summer signings. The absence of Modric has really allowed Isco to shine, but with three central midfield positions up for grabs and five world class players fighting for it, competition is stiff. With time, you have to assume that one amongst the likes of Isco, Khedira, Modric, James or Kroos will be sold.
You can't expect Reus to play as an attacking midfielder in Madrid, the same goes for the wings, that Reus generally prefers. With Ronaldo and Bale hogging those positions, it can be safely deduced that it won't be a smooth sailing.
The only spot left for Reus to occupy is Benzema's centre forward one, and it's highly doubtful that it'll be the position, Reus would be most effective in given the style that Madrid currently play in. Granted the fact that Reus is one of the most versatile forwards in world football right now, even having played as an attacking midfielder, he would still have a tough time breaking into Madrid's first team.
Is Reus suited to Barcelona’s needs?
In Barça, the situation is a bit different. Reus has the place that he can perfectly occupy and play in. But, that means moving Messi further away from the goal into the attacking midfielder slot. That not something either Messi or Barça will prefer. The attacking quartet of Neymar-Suarez-Reus-Messi is indeed something straight out of a dream or a fantasy football team.
But like Madrid, they too have a couple of blatant drawbacks. Ignoring the fact that moving Messi away from goal tends to decrease Barça's goal output, the Catalans still need to field a balanced team. They recently bought Ivan Rakitic, who also prefers to play as an attacking midfielder. Under this system, Reus would be pushed much further back. But, he has shown versatility and has adapted quite well to the role of a central midfielder in Barça.
The biggest flaw in the Barça argument isn't how the team will play, but the fact that Barcelona has a two-window transfer ban hanging over their head. That means that even if Barça wanted to get him, they can’t till January 2016. Now, Reus is part of a sinking ship in Dortmund under Klopp. They have severely underperformed this season, and with their currently sit in 17th position out of 18 teams.
If that does happen, their chances of retaining Reus and a couple of other key players like Hummels are extremely slim! So, Reus should look to find a new club in the summer of 2015, which Barcelona can't provide him. So, despite his tweet, that wish won't be fulfilled so easily.
La Liga giants might prefer youth over Reus
And all these arguments are being made completely ignoring the fact that both teams have youth players in the positions Reus craves. While Madrid has one of the brightest young Spanish talents in Jese Rodriguez (left winger) bubbling for his chance to play in the all-White jersey, Barça have under 19 Spaniard Gerard Deulofeu, on loan to Sevilla. Also on loan in Sevilla from Barça for past two seasons is Denis Suarez, another bright young Spanish prospect, who prefers to play in the attacking midfielder position. And not to forget the fact that Adama, widely accepted as the best attacker to come out of La Masia in years, is set to be promoted to the first team next season.
So whichever way Reus looks at things, it isn't going to be a pleasant journey into either team. According to German newspaper Bild, Reus has been taking Spanish lessons for quite a while, so it has to be assumed that it is in preparation for a possible move to the Liga.
The buy-out clause isn't too high, all the above arguments have been made overlooking the fact that Atletico Madrid might be a possible destination for him. However, despite their resurgence under Diego Simeone, they still severely lack the financial firepower to counter Madrid or Barça if those two set their sights on a player. And after all the hype and the quality of the player that he is, you just can't see Reus choosing Atletico.
So, what is it? Barcelona or Real Madrid? Which club should he prefer? If you look at the player itself, being at Barcelona seems to be more beneficial for him. He needs playing time in a position that he prefers and shines the brightest in.
Granted, he has played as a centre forward and as an attacking midfielder, during his time at Borussia Monchengladbach, but those aren’t positions that he is most effective in and Neither Madrid nor Barça need a player in those positions. He is a winger and his abilities will be best exploited in a team, which would allow him to play there, i.e. Barcelona.
Yes, he might need to wait for a year, but the way Dortmund’s season is progressing, they won’t get Champions League football next season. So, the January window barrier of clubs not being able to sign players already enlisted with a different team for European football vanishes and he can join them as soon as the next winter window opens.
Something needs to be kept in mind here. All this is mere speculation, as aptly stated by this Twitter post, Reus is a luxury for any club. That being said, he is also one of the brightest and best attackers in world football. He needs to choose wisely on how he cements his legacy into footballing history. As history indicates, great players in big clubs doesn’t always a guarantee success.