Top four hopefuls battle for Barcelona’s prodigal midfielder.
Liverpool and Spurs are set to go toe-to-toe in January for the signature of Barcelona’s £17m midfielder Sergi Roberto, reports The Daily Star.
The 21-year-old is highly-rated at the Camp Nou, but will struggle to get game time behind the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song, Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano to name but a few.
Because of this, Roberto could leave the Catalan giants, and the two Premier League giants are interested in taking advantage of the situation.
Like all Barcelona midfielders who have been at the club since a young age, Roberto is inherently suited to a slick passing ‘tika-taka’ system. He has wonderful technical ability, and like Xavi and Iniesta, is happy to receive the ball in tight areas and recycle it.
Roberto isn’t just a passer of the ball however. He can escape tricky situations with his dribbling skills, and his quick change of pace through the middle of the park. This makes him more direct than the current Barca midfielders, and arguably makes him more suited to the Premier League.
Where he could fit in either side:
It’s no surprise that Liverpool and Spurs are interested in the midfielder, as both are desperate to implement a passing style of football. Brendan Rodgers loves his midfielders to control the tempo of matches with short, sharp distribution, and Roberto would seemingly slot in perfectly alongside Lucas and Steven Gerrard – who would provide Roberto with a platform from which to create.
Spurs already have a plethora of strong, powerful central midfielders, such as Sandro, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue, so Roberto would offer something different in a deep-lying playmaker position.
Roberto’s vital statistics:
Due to the wealth of talent in Barcelona’s squad, he’s barely had a sniff this season. He’s made three appearances off the bench, and done little of note in any of those matches. Since 2010, he has only made 15 appearances for the first team, and has mainly been used in the Barcelona B side, where he has played 106 matches now.
For this reason, the £17m price-tag seems extremely high. The player is essentially a talent and little else right now, but the recent history of other home-grown Barca midfielders has clearly driven up his price.
Roberto highlight reel: