Opinion: Ferran Torres move raises new questions for cash-strapped Barcelona and striker-free Manchester City
Namely, a goal-scoring and adaptable striker who can operate on the right side of a forward three. Barcelona are lacking so many options in this position that Sergino Dest, a right-back, has played there several times this season with Barca B youngster Ez Abde, also quickly integrated into the squad to fill the void.
Torres, in theory, will be a perfect fit for Xavi Hernandez’s system. The former Barca midfielder wants his side to play smoothly on offense and Torres is able to play in a number of different positions on the front row. Moreover, the 21-year-old will give Barcelona a decisive advantage after scoring 16 times in 43 appearances for Manchester City in the past two seasons.
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But while the addition of Torres could solve at least one of Barca’s problems as they seek to put the Lionel Messi era behind him, the move also raises a number of questions. Specifically, there is confusion over how a club recently estimated to be over £ 1billion in debt managed to fund a € 55million transfer.
If Barcelona were able to find that money now, why couldn’t they keep Messi six months ago? At the time of the Argentine’s exit, the club have put forward the tale that they just don’t have any money available to extend his contract, but Torres’ transfer is costly. Surely that money would have been better spent keeping Messi.
Torres’ arrival at Camp Nou also sheds light on Ousmane Dembele’s future. Xavi has spoken enthusiastically about the French winger since taking charge of Barcelona, largely because he is the club’s only real winger. However, Dembele will be without a contract at the end of the season, so does Torres’ signing indicate the 24-year-old will be allowed to leave?
There are also questions Manchester City need to answer in light of Torres’ exit. They are, after all, a team that lacks a recognized center-forward this season and the Spaniard was the only player they had who vaguely had the qualities to play in the position. Torres had shown solid signs of development, so did City rush to move him just 18 months after signing him?
It could be that the Premier League champions are cleaning up the decks ahead of an elite-level striker’s transfer in the summer transfer window. Harry Kane is a long-term target for Manchester City while Erling Haaland has also been linked with a move to Etihad Stadium. Torres would have been knocked down in the pecking order if either of the scorers signed for the Premier League champions.
At just 21, Torres adds to the young core of Barcelona players with Ansu Fati (19), Pedri (19), Gavi (17), Nico (19), Dest (21), Ronald Araujo (22), Eric Garcia ( 20 years old), Riqui Puig (22), Yusuf Demir (18) and Abde (20) all highly rated. The future could well be bright for the Catalans, so much the better because the present is rather bleak. As with everything in Barcelona at the moment, the signing of Torres is the subject of much discussion.
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