Kolkata: “He will kill you in open spaces, but Barcelona needs players who know how to move in small spaces.” These were Xavi’s words to describe Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang two years ago in an interview.
Fast forward to 2022, Xavi, now the coach of his beloved boyhood club Barcelona, turns to Aubameyang to fill in the gap left by the generational duo of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. It is no secret that Barcelona is in deep financial hardships. Aubameyang being a free agent might have played a crucial role in his arrival.
Even though the former Arsenal captain Aubameyang is nearing 33 and his pace has naturally declined, the tall lanky forward can be just the poise Barcelona needed in their stale attack.
Look at that smile!
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 10, 2022
Barcelona now have a ‘Luis Suarez’esque finisher in Aubameyang. He has the experience of scoring 20-plus goals in Bundesliga and Premier League consistently. He definitely has what it takes to be the new ‘Mister Dependable’ for the Catalans when it comes to scoring goals.
Some might even argue he has better dribbling skills than their former No.9 Suarez. Still, that magical piece of Barca’s attacking puzzle is missing or should be said, still in PSG.
Adama Traore, another EPL signing might not be an alien but has some inhumane dribbling skills. If they can combine well up front with Memphis Depay charging the left flank, a UEFA Champions League with Europa League qualification win might be on the table for Xavi.
The new gaffer has always been far too big a fan of the Cryuffian Ideal. It is entirely possible that we will see a completely different version of Aubameyang, who is desperate to prove himself in La Liga.
As Xavi now looks a bit more comfortable with his position in the club and with his players, it will be an interesting second half for him as a coach as well as us as fans.