Several reports have claimed that Barcelona midfielder Carles Alena is on the Barcelona loan list for the winter transfer window.
Barcelona youngster Carles Alena broke into the first team in the 2018/2019 season on the back of an injury to Rafinha Alcantara, now at Celta Vigo. The 21-year old performed well enough to keep his spot in the first team, sparking talks of a La Masia resurgence among fans of the club.
This season, however, Alena has found minutes difficult to come by due to the purchase of Frenkie de Jong who has become one of the first names on the Barcelona team sheet since signing from Ajax Amsterdam for £65m, even displacing midfield stalwart Ivan Rakitic in the process. The Dutchman has formed a great partnership in the middle of the park with Arthur Melo and Sergio Busquets, making it difficult for Alena to find his way back into the team, with the experienced Rakitic and Arturo Vidal ahead of him in the pecking order.
The sale of Rafinha to Celta Vigo just before the summer window elapsed didn’t make Alena’s situation in the club any better, as Ernesto Valverde has stuck to his pragmatist views and kept faith with his new midfield trident of Busquets-Arthur-De Jong, while subbing on Rakitic and Vidal to add solidity to the midfield depending on the match.
Tottenham, who have been following Alena for a while and made an attempt to take the 21-year-old to London in the summer are planning to return in January for Alena, who is now on Barcelona’s loan list according to various reports.
Alena, who has only made one La Liga appearance under Ernesto Valverde for Barcelona this season, is seen as a long-term replacement for Christian Eriksen in the Tottenham squad. The captain of the Danish national team is out of contract at the end of the season and can leave for free in the summer, with Real Madrid reportedly interested in his services.
Barcelona, however, know the value of the youngster who has a €75m release clause (via Squawka). They see him as one for the future of the club and know that he can’t get as many minutes as he should be getting in the team’s current set-up, which is why he is to be sent on loan in January. A loan option for Alena (potentially), however, will not include a purchase option.
Other La Liga clubs like Real Betis, Celta Vigo, Getafe and Granada too are looking at the youngster, and Tottenham will be facing stiff competition if they are to secure Alena’s services for the remainder of the season.
However, this could prove to be a wrong move for the club if Alena is allowed to leave the Camp Nou for any other club on loan this season, especially with the rumours surrounding Ivan Rakitic who looks set to depart Barcelona in January as well according to reports.
Why Barcelona would be wrong to loan out Alena
Without a doubt, Barcelona are fully staffed in the midfield. However, none of them possesses the flair which Alena has. Sergi Roberto (who doubles as a right-back), Rakitic, Vidal, De Jong, Arthur and Busquets are all exceptional, but more defensive-minded. The loss of Rafinha who would have been the other midfielder with the kind of flair that Alena has to offer has made it important that the midfielder be kept and integrated into the team.
For the longest time, Barcelona have relied on winning the ball back from the opposition and giving it to Messi to create. This has caused fans and followers of the club to lash out at the management of Valverde. However, with Alena, this could stop being a problem.
Not only will playing the youngster help his development under the watchful eyes of the club who values him highly, but it will also offer more in terms of creativity which Barcelona are currently lacking. Alena is a daring midfielder who likes to go forward and get involved in attack. He doesn’t get onto the score-sheet very often for Barcelona, but his record for Barcelona B proves that he makes an excellent playmaker in terms of goals and assists. The midfielder has a decent 18 goals and 14 assists in 89 appearances for the Barcelona B team (Transfermarkt).
Alena has the ability to support from the midfield and the potential to become as good as Andres Iniesta was for Barcelona. A midfield of Arthur-Alena-De Jong in the future looks more like the famed trio of Xavi-Iniesta-Busquets than any other midfield combination that Valverde can possibly think of right now.
With the departure of Rakitic looming, Alena will benefit the club a lot more. Rakitic already has a replacement in De Jong, with a solid back-up in Vidal and Sergi Roberto when need be, but Alena’s presence and re-integration into the Barcelona squad will plug the huge creative void in Barcelona’s midfield.
Also, De Jong is expected to move into the Busquets holding role, a transition which looks set to be completed before the season runs out. This will open up a space in Barcelona’s midfield which Alena’s flair can fill. Valverde needs to go back to the drawing board before the winter window opens and help the club reconsider the loaning of Alena.