Barcelona have another new attacking trident. Xavi Hernandez has brought back the classic 4-3-3 that is so synonymous with the club, and things are starting to make sense at the Camp Nou again.
Against Espanyol, Xavi could start with Adama Traore, Ferran Torres, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as his front three, marking another era in attack at the club.
Since Neymar’s 2017 departure, Barcelona haven’t been able to find a front three as effective as their MSN of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and the Brazilian. It hasn’t been from a lack of trying, either, having spent 552 million euros in four years since in an attempt to have a new frontline to be feared.
The biggest spends came soon after Neymar’s exit, with the club singing Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele for 275 million euros combined. Gerard Deulofeu also returned that same season.
In 2017-18, Ernesto Valverde set up with a 4-4-2 for the big games, and Paulinho was the man supporting Messi and Suarez in attack, with Coutinho and Dembele struggling to contribute.
Malcom then arrived for 41 million euros, but did next to nothing at the club. Arturo Vidal supported the attack from midfield under Valverde in the following season, and Dembele scored 14 times to Coutinho’s 11.
In 2019/20, Barcelona looked to have found a solution. Antoine Griezmann arrived from Atletico Madrid for 120 million euros, and he was supposed to be a guarantee. But it didn’t happen, and he didn’t work with Messi and Suarez, scoring 15 Tims in 48 games.
Suarez the next to leave
The Uruguayan was pushed out of the club a year after Griezmann’s arrival, with Ronald Koeman putting an end to his time at the Camp Nou. Then, the Catalans spent 31 million euros on Trincao, though he never really found his feet either.
Andre Gomes, Denis Suarez, Rafinha, Kevin Prince Boateng, and Martin Braithwaite are others to have been signed without setting the place alight.
Now though, Adama’s debut looked good, Ferran has an eye for goal, and Aubameyang’s career suggests he’ll bag as well, Barcelona have a frontline that might start to trouble LaLiga Santander sides once more. But the shadow of that MSN is bigger than ever before.