Marquinhos, Laporte: what is the best option for Barça?

Both players are said to be linked with FC Barcelona...

Marquinhos, Laporte: what is the best option for Barça?
Marquinhos, Laporte: what is the best option for Barça?

Both players are said to be linked with FC Barcelona...

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It is not a big secret for anyone; Barça is looking for a young, promising centre-back to insure Mascherano’s future replacement. If the name of John Stones has been heard here and there, there are two other up-and-coming talents up for grab. One of them is Athletic’s French defender Aymeric Laporte, and the other is PSG’s Brazilian wonder, Marquinhos. Here are some leads to follow to determine which one would better suit Barça.

 

Aymeric Laporte (France, Athletic Bilbao, 21 years old)

A few years ago, he was the undisputed challenger for the future of the French National team’s defence. Very mature and experienced yet very young, his named was fired from almost every French specialist’s mouth as the next big thing for Les Bleus. He still is, and his role in Athletic Bilbao’s defence this year is crucial. Alongside Xabier Etxeita, he has played 44 games so far this season (2 in Spanish Super Cup, 8 in Europa League, 5 in Copa del Rey and 19 in La Liga), and participated actively in the good season of Athletic (6th in La Liga at the moment). Clean defensively, technically talented, intelligent and left-footed, he would be a good addition to Barça’s squad.

Why would he join Barça?

For any young player in the world of football, going to Barça is the next big step. After three full seasons in Bilbao, with a Spanish Super Cup as a reward, against Barça, Laporte seems to be ready for a bigger challenge. He claims he wants to be part of French national team, and playing in Barça would give him the visibility as well as the credibility to seduce France’s manager Didier Deschamps.

Already settled in La Liga, he’s been growing up as a player in the Basque country for 5 years now, quietly climbing up the ladder until he became a regular in the starting eleven in the 2013/2014 season (34 La Liga games). He knows the league, he knows Spanish football and he’s well aware of Barça’s style. There is no doubt that he would adapt very quickly to the Blaugrana culture.

What could prevent him from joining?

Although Barça is “one of the best clubs in the world” according to the man himself, he recently declared that an offer from Barça “could be turned down”. In other terms, he respects the Blaugrana institution and Barça players, but he is not quite convinced he should absolutely join Catalonia during the summer. It is typical of a wise young man; aware of the fact sometimes waiting is the best way to move forward.

He still hopes to join France’s national team before the Euros, and is probably waiting for Deschamps to give him a sign, as for whether he should move or not. Nevertheless, he probably wouldn’t mind staying at least one more season in Bilbao, to keep improving and earn even more experience.

 

Marquinhos (Brazil, PSG, 21 years old)

Same age, same bright future ahead of him. Marquinhos is probably one of the most talented substitutes in the world, so much that his situation is starting to feel uncomfortable in PSG. Although Blanc only had praises for him, as well as for his versatility and his ability to face big opponents in big games, Marquinhos is still not playing regularly (only 17 games in Ligue 1 this season, 10 as a starter). The arrival of the very powerful Serge Aurier from Toulouse relegated him on the bench.

Even though he is a centre-back normally, he had played a lot on the right side of the defence to help stabilising it, and prevent Blanc from using a very irregular Van der Wiel. Unfortunately for the Brazilan, Ivory Coast’s Aurier is having a blast this season, competing as one of the best right-backs of the French League. With his future in the dark in the French capital, Marquinhos has verbalised his desire to leave the club to get some more game time. This is an ideal opportunity for Barcelona to get him.

Why would he join Barça?

The perspective of crossing the Pyrenees to play in one of the greatest clubs in the world is a no-brainer for many players, Marquinhos included. Moreover, the club has been said in the past to consider Marquinhos as a credible recruit. Very quick, technically comfortable and versatile, he could prevent Sergi Roberto from trying every position on the pitch and ensure Dani Alves’ succession as well as Javier Mascherano’s.

Experienced, he played big games in Ligue 1 as well as in the Champion’s League with PSG. It’s even unsettling for some not to have seen him be selected by Felipe Scolari for the 2014 World Cup. Since then, he kept on improving and earning defensive knowledge, alongside one of France’s best former centre-backs, Laurent Blanc. If Barça can guarantee him he will play regularly, he shouldn’t hesitate for a second.

What could prevent him from joining?

He is very young, very talented, and is playing in one of the up-and-coming big European clubs. PSG are very rich, and get stronger and stronger transfer window after transfer window. Although his value is estimated by transfermarkt.co.uk at “only” 29 million euros, there is no doubt PSG would push to get a very high price for him. Last year, the French club was said to have told Manchester United they would let him go for 145 million euros. A price Barça are maybe not ready to afford yet. It would depend on the Blaugrana club’s ability to complete a deal with Qatar, or whatever other powerful sponsor, to earn some more money and be competitive on the transfer market.

Also, Thiago Silva is not eternal and if PSG succeed in convincing the young Brazilian player to stay one more season, he could get the opportunity to finally play as a starter and make the most of such an opportunity. Besides, joining Barça would mean switching leagues, and discovering a new one. Although European football is relatively uniform, and PSG’s philosophy largely inspired from Pep Guardiola, it could take some time for Marquinhos to adapt. A transfer in the winter would then seem a better option; in the case no one signed Marquinhos in the meantime.