Is Mats Hummels The Perfect Replacement For Carles Puyol?

Barcelona are in desperate need of a new central defender for the new season as they only have 2 established centre backs. There is no denying that Pique and Puyol are both talented players but while Carles Puyol struggles to stay fit they rely heavily on Javier Mascherano to fill the void. 

Javier Mascherano has done exceptionally well at centre back for Barcelona in the last two years, BUT he still isn’t a centre-back.

The problem however is Carles Puyol. Yes we all know he is the captain of Barcelona and a ‘lion heart’ but the truth is he is a fading force. Puyol just about scraped together 20 games for Barcelona last season and as he turned 35 in April I doubt he will improve on that for next season. 

So the question is – Who do Barcelona Sign?

The first names you think of probably are Sergio Ramos , Thiago Silva and Mats Hummels. I agree with you on the fact that they are great defenders, and would get into almost every team on the planet. But this just isn’t any team, this is Barcelona. 

To play as a centre-back for Barcelona you have to possess certain qualities apart from great tackling ability that most defenders dont have. These qualities are great passing ability, pace and reading of the game.

These qualities are important for a Barcelona defender as Barcelona start off nearly every single attack from the back. How many times have we seen Valdes pass it to the feet of Pique or Mascherano from a goal kick? The defender has to be able to be composed on the ball and find the right pass.

Pace is important as 90% of teams try play on the counter against Barcelona, and it works to great effect as Real Madrid showed in the Copa Del Rey tie last year. So the defender has to have enough pace to be able to track back and be able to get back in time to stop the counter.

So why not Hummels , Thiago Silva or Ramos then. Well quite obviously Ramos is out of bounds as he is a main player for Real Madrid. Thiago Silva may be one of the finest defenders on the planet but he will turn 29 in September and has suffered quite a few injuries in the last year which restricted him to 22 league appearances , so at 29 he isn’t the long term solution Barcelona are looking for. Thiago Silva will also come with a huge price tag , at the of 29 it isn’t worth shelling out big money for a player with maybe 3 or 4 years at the top.

So Hummels is it then, isn’t he?

Yes, Barcelona have been tracking Hummels for quite a while. According to the reports, Barcelona’s Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta has made signing Hummels his top priority this summer. Multiple reports are also stating that Barcelona scouts have gone to Germany to watch Hummels.

Hummels has a great reading of the game and is one of the few defenders in the world who are very comfortable with the ball at their feet. He has a pass success of 83% in the Bundesliga which would fit right in at Barcelona. At the age of 24 he would be a long term solution and well worth the money .

Hummels would help Barcelona defend set pieces, as well as corner kicks — two big areas of weakness in the Barça defense. And as we saw in the first leg of Dortmund’s Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk, Hummels is excellent at heading the ball into the back of the net.

Hummels re-signed with Dortmund last year, but Barça are more than capable of reaching a deal with the defending Bundesliga champions. A bid of €30 million for the German is possible.

By Adeel Shafieq