Barcelona needs dynamic young footballers, and the club’s newest signing, Denis Suárez, fits the bill perfectly. In his last season with Villarreal, Suárez scored five goals and made eleven assists. His team also placed high enough in La Liga standings to earn a Champions League spot for the upcoming season.
Denis Suárez has played for Barcelona before, which is a two-fold advantage. Most obviously, he already has experience at the club, so it will take him less time to adjust to his familiar settings.
Additionally, the move is an absolute bargain. Since Suárez was sold to Villarreal with a buyback clause, he was a frugal €3.25 million buy. In addition to the buyback clause, his original Barcelona contract stipulates that the Catalan club must pay an initial €800,000 fee to Manchester City, the club Barcelona bought Denis from, in addition to more €800,000 fees for every ten games Suarez plays until he reaches one hundred games with the club. With these fees included, the long-term cost of bringing Denis Suarez back is actually closer to €12.05 million, which is still far less expensive than a player of his caliber would usually be signed for.
Denis Suárez recently posted a picture of himself in Camp Nou with the caption, “Now I am home.” This is a testament to the fact that Suarez already has a love for the club. He has more than earned his return to the Camp Nou, and he fondly refers to the Catalans as the best club in the world. It would stand to reason that he is certainly more dedicated, and likely to make Barcelona his long-term home, than other players.
Hopefully, the promising youngster can become a key component of the next generation of Barcelona as many of today’s Blaugrana legends inch closer to retirement. With upcoming players such as Rafinha, Sergi Samper and Denis, it would be safe to say that the Blaugrana DNA should be able to overcome the inevitable passing of time.
Having played for three different clubs over the last three seasons, Suárez has been played in a variety of midfield, forward, and winger positions. Denis himself was recently quoted saying that he would fit best as up the left side of a midfield trio. That would fit into Barcelona’s current system, but the position is already being adequately filled by the great Andres Iniesta. Luis Enrique must make difficult decisions over the next few seasons to integrate this new crop of players into the first team as, otherwise, the ageing of his first-choice midfielders will become a problem in the not-so-distant future.
These decisions really put Luis Enrique between a rock and a hard place. Iniesta’s upcoming retirement is an inevitably. It might not happen this year or next year, but, undoubtedly, it will happen. Conversely, Denis Suárez, as well as other up-and-coming Catalan youngsters, are quality players in the prime of their careers. While they surely understand that Barcelona is not the kind of club you can walk into and expect regular playing time, no one desires to waste away on the bench -- regardless of how great the club is.
At the same time, however, Iniesta certainly would not be satisfied with wasting his precious time on the bench either, especially given the few years left to his career. If a player as talented as Iniesta became unsatisfied with the amount of playing time he was receiving, he could easily be signed to any one of the plethora of clubs around the world that would immediately give him the playing time he deserves.
Luis Enrique must careful chose lineups and rotations that will please all of his players, to a certain degree, so that he can preserve the present and build for Barcelona’s future. Easier said than done, of course, but an essential move forward that the Catalans can certainly not do without.
By Marissa Blackman, columnist at Barcablog.