According to RAC 1, Roberto Martinez is currently the favourite to replace Ernesto Valverde as the Barcelona manager this summer. The Catalan radio station reported that the Spanish champions are set to sack Valverde after failing to secure the domestic double.
And, it is believed that Martinez is leading Barcelona’s four-man shortlist, which reportedly includes Ronald Koeman and Massimiliano Allegri. But what changes will the Spaniard bring to the table if he replaces Valverde as the Barcelona manager this summer?
How Barcelona could line-up under Martinez
Martinez is someone who likes his team to play an attractive and attacking brand of football. He favours the possession-oriented system over the counter-attacking, high-pressing style of play. And that is rather evident in his preferred 3-4-3 formation. Quite naturally, employing a three at the back setup offers Martinez with numerical superiority in midfield, which becomes essential in a possession-oriented system. The Spaniard has repeatedly used the 3-4-3 formation during his time with Everton, Wigan as well as the Belgian national team.
And we could expect him to favour a similar formation at Barcelona. That means Sergio Busquets will be relieved of his duties as the lone holding midfielder. Instead, he will be partnered by either of Arthur Melo, Ivan Rakitic or Arturo Vidal in double-pivot.
Both Nelson Semedo (or Sergi Roberto) and Jordi Alba are better suited as wing-backs rather than normal fullbacks. These players will have the license to go forward, although Martinez could sign a new right-back in case he favours a left-sided overload. Semedo or Roberto doesn’t have the defensive prowess to operate in a deeper wide role.
The attack will remain unchanged with Luis Suarez spearheading the offensive unit. Lionel Messi and Philipe Coutinho will operate as wide-attackers, although Martinez could prefer Ousmane Dembele over Coutinho due to his pace and dynamism.
But most importantly, in defence, it will be interesting to see if the Spaniard persists with the central defensive combination of Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet. Both the defenders are more than capable of overseeing a three at the back formation, but Barcelona will need a new defender to fill up that additional central defensive role.
Someone like Kostas Manolas or Alessio Romagnoli could be ideal options given their aggression, which add another element to the Barcelona defence. However, Martinez certainly needs to sort out his problems when it comes to maintaining a balance between attack and defence. Fortunately for him, though, Barcelona’s immense individual strength means the Spaniard will have the freedom to employ his risky 3-4-3 scheme and elite fullbacks like Alba and Semedo are sure to help his cause.
In the meantime, Barcelona fans will be keen to see what transpires in the coming days. The Spanish giants should probably explore other options as well given how they have struggled with managers since the departure of Pep Guardiola.
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