Analysis: Should Barcelona dip into the same well twice and go after breakout La Liga star?

Barcelona have already signed one of Michel Sanchez’s star players from Girona, and with the Blanquivermells currently four points ahead of the Blaugrana, why not a second?

Having poached Oriol Romeu from their Catalan neighbours, Fichajes allege that Xavi Hernandez himself has been impressed with Aleix Garcia, their captain and lynchpin.

Garcia has a deal at Girona until 2026, and after relations became fracturous during the Blaugrana’s pursuit of Romeu, it could be a tricky negotiation. Taking into account that Barcelona are short for cash, they would not be able to remove him by force either.

Putting aside whether Barcelona have the financial might to pull off a deal, is it a good idea? Romeu impressed early on after arriving at Barcelona, but has been increasingly sloppy in recent weeks drawing criticism.

The first thing to say is that it is too early to judge Romeu, who has played just 11 games and is carrying an injury, and he is an entirely different player to Aleix Garcia.

There is something in the comparison from a purely strucutral point of view though. Garcia and Romeu were both operating in a system under Michel that played to their strengths, and did not ask them to cover up some of Barcelona’s issues.

Garcia has taken over as the deepest midfielder for Girona, and is now orchestrating attacks for them from beginning to end. He starts moves off, taking the ball from the central defenders, but also has four assists and two goals. He has also made 11 passes resulting in goals in 11 matches, while leading the league for progressive passes too.

More technically gifted than Romeu, and more comfortable picking up the ball in tight spaces with his back to goal, Garcia is a typical interior profile for Barcelona. In terms of his level, he has shown that he can be amongst the best in La Liga over the past two seasons too.

Where perhaps Garcia might suffer more, and where Michel has been good at ensuring he does not have to do so, is defending in his own box, and covering large amounts of ground. Girona are so often close together, that lung-busting runs are unusual for them, and their high line means that defending is something the Catalans do further from their goal. It’s worth remembering that Garcia began as an attacking midfielder or a number 10, meaning he is not defensive in his mindset.

While Garcia might struggle to start, there is no doubt that he would compete, and would definitely be one of the best rotation options in Spain. With Gavi, Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, Ilkay Gundogan and Fermin Lopez, Xavi already has plenty of options, but it was widely reported that he wanted another creative midfielder who can cut open a defence.

If that is the case, then Garcia is one of the best signings they could make that is not a ‘brand name’. How he would actually fit Garcia into his plans is for Xavi to explain to his board.

Tags Aleix Garcia Barcelona Girona
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