It’s becoming difficult to imagine a Barcelona without the imperial Brazilian. A gargantuan hole left by Xavi seemed impossible to fill with three players, never mind one, but the answer to their issues has perhaps come sooner than originally thought. Arthur.
After signing for £35m in the summer, the 22-year-old quickly took up the fabled number eight, religiously worn by Blaugrana legend Andrés Iniesta and has looked far from out of place.
“I see myself when I see Arthur on television, He is a very quick thinker. He has a natural talent, but most of all, he has a lot of room to improve through training” – Xavi on Arthur Melo
Press-resistant and with the brightness of mind to keep it simple, his dominant performance over an in-form Inter Milan side, who beat Tottenham Hotspur on Matchday One, earned him the rapturous approval of the Blaugrana faithful…
He completed 95% of his passes (83/88), won all eight of his duels and drove through the heart of the Nainggolan-less Inter midfield with three take-ons. Valverde has used him on the left of a three, alongside Rakitić, with the anchorman Sergio Busquets allowing freedom to roam and create chances.
Barça’s midfield has been chopped and changed numerous times over the past couple of seasons. But now that this trio has been formed and worked on by Valverde, we could see a new and, dare I say it, improved Barcelona from the previous few seasons. Champions League?
With Denis Suárez and Andre Gomes never quite cutting the mustard, it looks like Barcelona have finally found the perfect player to replace the seemingly irreplaceable Xavi…