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Barca’s very own “La Pulga” is very frustrated by how the club is being run by President Bartomeu and, as reported by reliable Catalan journalist Alfredo Martinez, has decided against signing a contract extension if the current board is still in capacity by then. That is, in exactly 117 days, Lionel Messi can sign a pre-contract with any team on Earth and walk away for free. Manchester City will be the prime candidates to land the player as they had already planned to make whopping bids for him in the past, and joining the team now would reunite him with his former manager, Pep Guardiola.
If that dark day eventually arrives in the near future, what prospects can FC Barcelona rely on to replace their greatest ever?
Having bought the sensational 20-year-old French attacker from Dortmund this transfer window for a massive £138.5million, Barca have added an unreal talent to their frontline. Dembele has turned a lot of heads in his first two seasons as a professional footballer, one with French club Rennes and another with German powerhouse, Borussia Dortmund.
Being ambipedal, Dembele can score and assist with either foot with equal comfort. He is pacey on the wing, possesses an excellent eye for goal, has surreal dribbling skills and can take on any elite defender in world football at the moment. His penetrative passes and crossing lead to a lot of chances for his teammates to finish and his 12 assists in Bundesliga last season is a testament to that fact.
Touted as the next big La Masia product, Carles Alena is a blend of Iniesta and Messi. The 18-year-old made his debut for the first team last season and even scored a goal in the Copa del Rey encounter against Hercules.
Alena has the ability to attack space, execute the final dribble and also has a subtle knack for goal. A clear resemblance in demeanour to Messi is evident while he is on the ball. Both of them are left footed, and Alena uses a similar burst of pace and combination of deft touches to get past defenders. Possessing an innate ability similar to Messi, the ball seems glued to his foot at times.
It may be too soon to say that he’ll reach the otherworldly standards that Lionel Messi has set, but Alena has a bright future ahead of him for sure.
For someone who’s a 23-year-old Argentine left-footed superstar, there’s just one comparison. Dybala has been called Messi’s heir apparent by experts and supporters alike. He uses a low centre of gravity and an exquisite left foot to fool defenders, just like his idol, Leo Messi. Drifting in and out of the attacking third, playing freely, setting up teammates, finishing gorgeously and possessing a superb first touch makes Dybala the closest successor to Messi in world football today.
It was reported that Juventus set a price tag of £107m for Dybala this summer. There’s no argument on how excellent Paulo Dybala actually is. What remains to be seen, however, is whether FC Barcelona can actually fetch him in the next few years.