Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWill Neymar change Barcelona? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Will Neymar change Barcelona? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Will Neymar change Barcelona?

It is now official that Brazilian superstar Neymar will join Spanish giants Barcelona this summer and sign a five year contract in the process. Speculation about the Santos striker’s future had begun months ago, with most of the biggest clubs in Europe interested. However, in the last few days it became clear that there were only two possible destinations and the choice was between Spain’s biggest clubs. The Catalan outfit won the battle, so could this be an attempt at rectifying the lack of a Plan B that they have been so desperately lacking recently?

Tito Vilanova and the club’s board of directors will be extremely pleased that the 21-year-old preferred a move to Catalonia instead of the capital and the first point to make is that there should be less pressure and dependence on Lionel Messi to find the back of the net during every match. The term ‘Messidependencia’ has been used this season, referring to the single handed ability of the little Argentine to win games on his own. An obvious lack of cutting edge in attack has been noted when he hasn’t played and the drubbing suffered at the hands of European champions Bayern Munich brought it very much into focus; Messi played despite suffering from a hamstring injury and looked off sorts as his team had no answers to the Germans relentless pressure.

It will be interesting to see whether Barcelona change the way that they attack, as Neymar’s pace and dribbling could be extremely effective on the counter-attack. The most likely scenario would be that he will occupy one of the two wide positions of the front three, as although Messi can play out on the right, where he started his career, he has been so devastatingly effective since occupying the false nine role in the centre that it seems unlikely he will be moved to accommodate the Brazilian. 

Who then will partner the deadly duo and complete the attacking trio? Pedro or Alexis Sanchez look the most promising bets, although neither have had a particularly spectacular season. David Villa could well be on his way out of the Camp Nou shortly as well, frustrated at a lack of game time and sitting on the bench too often for a player of his age and quality. Cesc Fabregas has been criticised by fans and the media for a perceived lack of drive and hunger in many games, although playing as second fiddle to Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets seems to have affected his confidence. In an attempt to include him in the starting eleven he has often been pushed into a more advanced role, so could he combine with Messi and Neymar to form a potent force, especially as he has played in this position for both club and country over the past few years?

Barcelona’s passing and possession based game will not change because of one player. It is their footballing philosophy that is engrained in all the players at the club right down to youth level and has been extremely effective during the past five years. What they may do is look at how to break down teams that set themselves up to defend deep and counter attack against them. Although they had a lot of possession against Bayern Munich in the semi-final, there was little penetration or final ball to create opportunities on goal. Bizarrely, they looked most vulnerable when they were on the edge of the Bayern penalty area because every time they lost the ball they couldn’t cope with the speed that Robben, Ribery, Schweinsteiger and Muller broke out on the counter.

Neymar is a fantastic purchase but the club definitely need to look at signing some central defenders that can cope with top level football and aren’t converted defensive midfielders. An alternative to Messi is great but the real problems exist at the other end of the pitch. Hopefully the club can address this problem quickly and get back to playing some of the best football we have ever seen.

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