What can Emerson Royal bring to Barça?

Emerson has been outstanding for Betis // Eurosport

Over the last few days, there have been a lot of speculations regarding Emerson’s future, the Brazilian right back, who would be available for Barcelona for free in 2022, but the arrival of whom the club can bring forward to the summer of 2021 for 9 million.

Barcelona’s interest in purchasing already the Brazil’s youngster may have two possible reasons, which come down to what the club decides to do with Sergi Roberto. If the Catalan leaves, Emerson would come as a replacement, as he has proved to be consistent and is still very young, Emerson turned 22 last January. If the La Masia graduate stays, the Brazilian would be a very lucrative sell for the club, as apparently he has a good number of powerful teams after him. However, Barça’s plans for Emerson don’t seem to go down that last path.

Having said all that, if the current Betis right back stays at Barça, we must analyse what he can bring to the table; Emerson is a good wing back, much in the fashion of Dani Alves, able to cover a fair amount of ground and with a good technique. It looks like he could easily adjust to Barcelona’s style, as he can help build up plays from way back and also is accurate sending long balls forward, Emerson is also skilled at receiving balls with a nice first touch that gives him an advantage on the attacking half of the pitch. Thanks to his pace, he’s also a threat in one on one situations. Emerson’s stats at Betis include 63 league matches played, having scored 4 goals and dished out 10 assists.

Defensively, the Brazilian is not as outstanding as offensively, but he is still solid. He relies on his speed to intercept balls and hold his own against any attacker.

However, there is one aspect of the game at which Emerson stands out above any other Barça full back, and that’s his height, as the Brazilian stands at 1,83 metres, which would make him the tallest natural full back at either side of the defence since Abidal, given the fact that Mathieu arrived as a veteran that had already switched to centre back. That height is not a petty matter, as he could help with lofted balls a lot more than Alba or Dest, and it grants him a better chance of winning body check situations, one of the team’s severe weaknesses these last few years when facing physical opponents in Europe. For instance, with that size, Bayern wouldn’t have been able to do to him what they did to Alba in the 2013 UCL semifinals.