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Barcelona’s plan for the full-back position revealed

Alex Valle (left) & Julian Araujo (right) / Getty Images
Alex Valle (left) & Julian Araujo (right) / Getty Images

Barcelona planning a full full-back shake-up this summer.

FC Barcelona is already working on planning for the upcoming season, knowing that they will continue to lack a flourishing economy to make big signings. With Pau Cubarsí emerging in the heart of the defence, signing a center-back is not a priority at the moment unless there is a strong departure involving Ronald Araujo and Jules Koundé, who are highly sought after. However, there will be an evident need in the full-back positions. According to Fernando Polo and Gabriel Sans of Mundo Deportivo, Sergi Roberto and Marcos Alonso are the only two players in the squad whose contracts expire on June 30, and the club does not plan to renew their contracts. While awaiting confirmation of Joao Cancelo’s continuity, loaned from Manchester City until June, Barcelona also celebrates the emergence of Hèctor Fort, who has already appeared in six games at just 17 years old, demonstrating his ability to perform at a high level in a high-voltage Copa del Rey match at San Mamés.

The Barcelona native will remain in the first team as a great utility player, capable of playing on both defensive flanks. Additionally, it is widely believed within the club that Julián Araujo and Àlex Valle, currently on loan this season at Las Palmas and Levante, respectively, will return. Then, depending on the preferences of the new coach and the club’s financial capabilities in terms of signings, it will be seen whether they stay when the transfer window closes, but they are very likely to start the Blaugrana preseason in July.

The Mexican right-back has made a positive impression on his development in Javier García Pimienta’s team, having played 19 La Liga games, 10 of them as a starter, contributing to UD’s status as the second least conceded team in La Liga (26 goals in 26 matches). Araujo would have played four more games if he hadn’t served a four-game suspension for a red card in the Copa del Rey against Tenerife.

Also earning his return is the Badalona-born Àlex Valle after establishing himself as Levante’s left-back with 21 games played, all as a starter, in the demanding Segunda División. In the second half of last season, he also developed on loan at Andorra, also in the Second Division. Although Xavi Hernández has kept an eye on him this season, the non-continuity of the player from Egara is not an obstacle as the club has received very positive reports about him. This is especially managed by Bojan Krkic, whose main role in the sports structure is to monitor the progress of loaned players.

In terms of the transfer market, Barcelona is eyeing Mario Hermoso, an established defender who becomes a free agent in June. At 28 years old, the left-back and center-back from Atlético Madrid, a club where Marcos Alonso is also linked, is hesitating to renew his contract. Already a five-time Spanish international, he has amassed 175 La Liga appearances and 27 in the Champions League, showcasing his scoring potential with 10 goals in La Liga and three in the Champions League. Barcelona is monitoring his situation amid uncertainty, especially if a high and irresistible offer comes in for Alejandro Balde. Mario Hermoso would be a top-level replacement with plenty of potential left in his career.

Another issue the FC Barcelona’s sports management must clarify is the continuity of Joao Cancelo, a key player in Xavi Hernández’s plans. With a competitive spirit and versatility to play on both defensive flanks, it’s crystal clear to the Blaugrana that the goal is to keep him for the next season. Both Deco and President Joan Laporta have publicly voiced this intention. Cancelo is the sixth player in the squad with the most minutes played despite missing the first three matches and five due to injury in January. Barcelona will have to reach an agreement with Manchester City, who had previously loaned the Portuguese international to Bayern Munich in the second half of last season before the loan to Barcelona. Pep Guardiola also does not count on Cancelo, who wants to stay in Barcelona.