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Three ways Barcelona's defence could lineup after signing Joao Cancelo

Published at :August 21, 2023 at 11:44 PM
Modified at :January 13, 2024 at 6:09 PM
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Syed Talib Haider


The Spanish side will look to sign him before the window closes

Barcelona are nearing a deal to sign Joao Cancelo this summer on loan from Manchester City. Although in its final stages, the deal is not yet finalized. The club is eager to bolster its squad before the transfer window closes and sees Cancelo as a valuable addition. Cancelo’s versatility as a creative, attacking full-back who can play on either side of the defence will surely bring a fresh dimension to Barcelona’s play.

The Catalans have been eyeing the Portuguese for quite some time. Albeit, they met with financial constraints, leading to his loan to Bayern Munich. During this period, Jules Kounde filled in admirably as the right-back. His imminent arrival now offers promise for Barcelona’s future performances. Here are three potential ways Xavi can shape the back if Joao Cancelo is successfully recruited:

3. Joao Cancelo (RWB) Jules Kounde (CB) Andreas Christensen (CB) Ronald Kounde (CB) Marcos Alonso (LWB)

Joao Cancelo Barcelona formation

The initial defensive lineup might see Xavi change the formation to either 3-4-3 or 3-4-2-1. In these formations, Cancelo and former Chelsea player Marcos Alonso will play as wing-backs on the sides. This will provide additional support for the attack from wider areas. Also, to ping in deliveries to Lewandowski, who will surely be delighted with it,

Both the Portuguese and Spanish fullbacks have experience playing as wingbacks from previous games. This system asks Raphinha to sit out. Although this system can come in handy when the Brazilian is going through a shaky spell or is injured, it does not seem to be Xavi’s first choice.

2. Jules Kounde (RB) Andreas Christensen (CB) Ronald Araujo (CB) Joao Cancelo (LB)

Joao Cancelo Barcelona formation

In one of the three possible defence formations, Xavi is likely to keep Jules Kounde as the right-back and put Joao Cancelo on the left. This is because Cancelo has played most of his games on the left side for Manchester. The reason for this choice is that it allows both solid full-backs, Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo, to play together in a back four system, which is preferred by Pep Guardiola.

So, if Xavi uses Cancelo on the left, we can expect good results, as we’ve seen in the past. This also strengthens Barcelona’s left side, which has been weaker lately compared to the right side. However, this lineup seems to be the one that the Spanish manager will look to use as a backup.

1. Joao Cancelo (RB) Jules Kounde (CB) Ronald Araujo (CB) Alejandro Balde (LB)

Joao Cancelo Barcelona formation

If Joao Cancelo joins on loan, he’ll likely slot into the back four, a move that aligns with Xavi’s admiration for him. The primary motive behind this signing is to pair Cancelo with Kounde-Araujo in central defence. Cancelo’s standout ability to advance from right-back, deliver precise crosses, and take goal-scoring opportunities makes him an exciting addition.

Joao Cancelo’s presence as a right-back would also ignite a dynamic partnership with Raphinha on the right wing. Balde, on the left, will maintain his role. Should Cancelo join, this back four could emerge as La Liga’s strongest defensive unit in the upcoming season, promising a thrilling prospect for Barcelona fans.

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