Valentín Barco and The Left Back Solution

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Valentín Barco as Roberton’s Successor

As news of the ten-point deduction enforced upon Liverpool’s neighbourhood rivals, Everton, swirls around until the Premier League resumes (another international break), this led me to think more about Manchester City than the unlucky Merseyside blues. I saw the League champions late summer acquisitions of Joško Gvardiol and Jérémy Doku, as fortunate deals that were struck despite their own 115 lingering charges. Given the enormous and ground-breaking nature of those charges, it was probably difficult for the Etihad side to convince top-tier targets to join their regime, due to the uncertainty surrounding the allegations. I suspect large overpayments were made (to clubs and players) to secure both those brilliant individuals, with the assurance that sanctions would be limited and potentially drift away.

How Does All This Affect Liverpool…?

Considering the Toffees’ ten-point penalty (that will probably be reduced to six or eight points on appeal) for their single charge, it very much brought to the fore the ramifications that are forthcoming for a club that awaits their own verdict on 115 charges. Sports writers, football journalists, and high-profile pundits, all appear to have been let off the leash and quite rightly point to the huge sanctions that are surely going to be imposed upon City. League and Cup silverware could be stripped and stricken from the record, relegation and further deduction of points could be imposed, whereas transfer bans and fines are also very likely. What it means for Pep Guardiola in this moment, is an inability to attract new players to a club that is now operating under a heavy cloud. I have little doubt that the Spanish head coach will slide out of the side door when these penalties are imposed, however, he is still in charge of the expensively assembled side, yet will now have to convince potential signings that their short- and long-term plans will not become embroiled in controversy, with further National League participation not overly farfetched.

Who Is the Target…?

A few weeks back, it came to the attention of many Liverpool fans that the Anfield recruitment team were looking at the young Argentine left back, as stated above. I can see a further shift in formation being undertaken by Jürgen Klopp, one that will see his vice-captain, Trent Alexander Arnold, being deployed into a permanent midfield position. I hope this decision is taken against Manchester City this coming Saturday, as it that would allow Joe Gomez to start at right back and the current hybrid to line up in a 4-2-3-1 alongside Wataru Endō. Due to some uncertainty in the on and off ball requirements of our fabled number 66, I fear that any elite footballing side would pick apart the inevitable shortfalls that emit during periods where possession is lost. Despite my concerns, a permanent return to a flat back four, will most probably be sidelined until an elite level defensive midfielder is attained, which would allow more assurance and flexibility. With that, I sense the need for two new full backs in the next six months or so, one that can back up Joe Gomez on the right and one that can become the long-term successor to Andy Robertson.

Valentín Barco

  • Age: 19-years old (DOB 23/7/2004)
  • Current Club: Boca Juniors
  • Nationality: Argentina
  • Playing Positions: LB / LM
  • Preferred Foot: Left
  • Height: 5ft 8inches
  • Weight: 64kg
  • Appearances: 30 games
  • Career Goals & Assists: 1 / 4
  • Total Minutes Played: 2,146
  • International Caps & Goals: 0 games / 0 goals
  • Contract Expiry: December 31, 2024
  • Transfermarkt Value: €10m

This Argentina under-20 international is a revelation in the modern game, who embodies everything an attacking fullback should possess. His performances and level of play have seen him likened to Marcelo in recent times, which is to say he is a very attacking version within the left back fraternity. This 5ft 8inch ball of energy is in no way an appropriate choice to operate in an on ball 3-4-3 system, which would ultimately see him reduced to a flanking central defender. No, to sign this talented player would be part of how Liverpool 2.0 evolves, which would add weight to my thoughts on a return to fielding specialist full backs that are required to stay wide. The original Liverpool 1.0 of the Klopp era, housed Trent and Robbo as the self-proclaimed wing men that were vital to adding continual width and service for the attacking assets. The level of success that was attained in recent years cannot be ignored, which is why it would be prudent to move back to the methods which made the reds the best footballing enterprise on the planet.

Future Transfer Strategies

Though I have a keen fondness for Kostas Tsimikas, the Greek international has too many weaknesses to his game and his output is too often sporadic. In a shift back to a working back four, the signing of the tantalising Valentín Barco would allow Scotland’s international captain, Andy Robertson, to continue in his preferred role and allow the gifted Argentina prodigy to slowly build into what the next version of the reds will become. An opportunity has arisen that may scupper any Manchester City attempt to sign Barco, since any opposition to his signature will immediately point to the sanctions that are incoming. Liverpool already has the World Cup winning Alexis Mac Allister, whereas the squad is littered with South American players that would assist in bedding in new players from that continent. A winter bid and summer deal could be orchestrated very quickly, essentially as next month marks the final twelve months of his existing Boca Juniors contract. The likes of Valentín Barco, Florian Wirtz, Ezequiel Fernández, Lucas Gourna-Douath, Tiémoué Bakayoko, Soungoutou Magassa, and Jeremie Frimpong, are the profiles of players I hope will be targeted in the coming windows, as this next generation could be built into something as special as the last.

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