Midfield is an area where Barca has always excelled in. From the likes of Xavi and Iniesta to De Jong and Pedri, Barca has always got world-class players with a very bright future.
Barcelona signed Pedri for 5 million euros from Las Palmas last season. But, Pedri’s move to Barca looked like a match made in heaven as the youngster played a total of 52 games in his debut season. His impressive rise also got him into the Spain squad for the European Championship as Luis Enrique ranked him as one of the influential players in the team.
Coutinho’s injury was the perfect opportunity for Pedri to showcase his versatility and talent. The 18-year-old grabbed his opportunity and adapted very quickly to the coach’s tactics. Pedri’s versatility is very underrated, the former Las Palmas player used to play as a wide midfielder or a winger. At Barcelona, Pedri has also played as a defensive midfielder alongside Busquets as well as an attacking midfielder.
Pedri’s majestic footwork and his ability to thread passes through defences are two important components of his game. The Spaniard also has an excellent vision which helps him find his teammates. With his dizzy dribbling, inch-perfect long balls, and swift short passing, all he needs to improve on is his physicality.
Frenkie De Jong is currently Barca’s best midfielder. The Dutchman has proved his worth for his 75 million transfer from Ajax by showing his determination and decisiveness on the pitch. He has that raw pace which helps him get past defenders with ease despite being under immense pressure. His role has also changed in the previous season as Koeman prefers him to get involved with the attack and he offers an extra threat to the defence due to his goal-scoring ability. His tally of 7 goals and 8 assists in last season speaks for itself.
De Jong is a key element in Barcelona’s game, he presses high up the pitch and covers the majority of the ground as a box-to-box midfielder. Due to his world-class qualities, he can be deployed at various positions. He has a good physique. He has also played as centreback for some games last season. He can dribble, tackle, defend and is one of the great passers in the world.
His close control, decisive passing, and work rate have led fans and former players to believe that he was “born to play for Barcelona” and has the “Barca DNA”. As an ex-Ajax player, he understands the tiki-taka system and will play a vital role in upbringing future stars from the academy.
De Jong is an all-around player who offers a little bit of everything to Barca. He likes keeping the ball, has excellent tactical intelligence, but his quality to carry the ball forward is world-class. Whereas Pedri likes to dribble between the opposition midfield and defence. His role is to thread passes into the box, create chances and maintain possession.
In the 4-3-3 formation, Busquets is a perfect fit as he takes on his preferred role as no.6 and is utilized to bring the ball forward from the defence. Pedri and De Jong become the “interiors” in front of him. In this formation, each player has thrived in their role and their attributes complement each other perfectly. Still, these two are young and are developing a better understanding of each other’s game but are they the perfect successors to Xavi and Iniesta? Let us know in the comments.