August 12, 2022

If Barcelona have been lucky in recent years, it has been in discovering young talents in midfield and giving them the opportunity to take on big roles.

First it was Pedri, who Barcelona already mistakenly depend on. Being overused in his rookie campaign led him to struggle with injuries in his second. But not without marking the season by leading the team in the standings and safely into the top four in just a few months of action.

Then it was Gavi, who injected much-needed tenacity into the team, and showed their versatility and ability to make an impact in a variety of positions.

True to the new pattern of exiting La Masia to find the best young midfield talent in Spain, Barcelona signed Pablo Torre from Racing Santander in March for €5m plus variables. The total price could reach 20 million euros if all the conditions are met.

Xavi met Torre to seal the Real Madrid deal, and it looks like the manager himself was a factor in the final decision.

Very little is transparent with Barcelona these days, but with all the talk of selling Frenkie de Jong, who has just had an exceptional game for the Netherlands, it looks like the club are strategically looking to rebuild the club. team up with young players, while finding opportunities. in the market to get a cash injection for their most valuable assets.

With the emergence of Gavi and the signing of Torre, Barcelona may feel like they have an insurance policy if Frenkie leaves. It’s always a big risk, but hearing Frenkie describe it, Barcelona never built the midfield around him the way they probably should to get the most out of their investment.

Xavi’s midfield will likely continue to depend on Sergio Busquets as the deepest player to pick up the ball, with Pedri as the playmaker on the pitch. The third central midfielder, be it Frenkie, Gavi or perhaps Torre, will have to find a way to best complement the other two.

With Frenkie, you’re asking for a hard-working number eight to fill gaps on the pitch. Frenkie would accept this role, but he might be frustrated that he doesn’t have the freedom to be more creative.

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Gavi has excelled the most in Pedri’s absence. It will be interesting to see what kind of tandem they will evolve into, but for now it is a work in progress.

Torre, however, will be eager to claim for himself at the start of pre-season that he is the man to complete the midfield. And you can believe that he will have every chance to do so.

So what do we know about Pablo Torre?

Last season, he registered 10 goals and 10 assists for Racing Santander in Spain’s third tier, helping them secure promotion.

Torre is an attacking midfielder who is progressive on the ball and ready to dribble past defenders.

He also has a good long shot and is known as a set piece specialist. He took all free-kicks and corners last season, and recorded several goals and assists in those areas. Last season, Barcelona seemed lost on free-kicks and are looking for a solution.

It’s an interesting contrast to Pedri, who had to be encouraged to take more shots, and responded with empathy, and is valued for his ability to control the flow of a play in possession.

Torre is naturally more direct and isn’t afraid to choose the dribble over the pass to cross midfield, and will take a shot from outside the box or play a ball over the top.

Spain U19 v Denmark U19 - UEFA U19 European Championship Qualifier

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Will Xavi’s 4-3-3 work well with two attacking midfielders, or will he lack the work rate provided by players like Frenkie or Gavi?

And that’s assuming we ignore another new signing in Franck Kessie who helped lead AC Milan to a Serie A title. Franck is at the peak of his career and will be motivated to earn the job.

In my mind, the biggest threat to Busquets, or maybe just a blueprint for life after him, is if Xavi tries a 4-2-3-1 and plays Frenkie and Franck together as a double pivot. This would put Torre behind Pedri as an attacking midfielder.

In midfield, Xavi will be spoiled for choice, but losing Frenkie would still be a huge risk.

The manager will soon look for a solution on whether the Dutchman is in his plans for next season.

Valencia v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander

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If he is, Frenkie will be a focal point in midfield, in which case Xavi would be wise to study the Dutch national team and find new ways to get the best out of him. Heck, while he’s at it, might as well take a look at Memphis Depay, who continues to thrive in an orange shirt.

But if Frenkie is sold, Pablo Torre will be the big winner.

He was brought in with the ‘intention’ to play for Barca B, or Barca Atletic as they will now be called, but everyone will be looking to see if he is made of the same material as Pedri and Gavi, and fight for a place. in the first team.

Safe to say that Xavi has some good issues to deal with in midfield.

For the culers, this pre-season will be an opportunity to see another promising young midfield talent in action, with the hope that he could be a player to build a future around.