Oriol Romeu may choose Southampton over Barcelona
Under normal circumstances, Southampton wouldn’t have a prayer of hanging on to a player drawing serious interest from Barcelona. Evidently the circumstances surrounding Oriol Romeu are far from normal. The Saints have a very good chance of keeping their talented midfielder.
Romeu is far from your typical Southampton player. He’s already experienced the bright lights of both Chelsea and Barcelona. It’s safe to say that he wasn’t enthralled with either of those two experiences.
The Spanish midfielder admits that it’s always been his goal to star for Barcelona, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to accept any summer offer from the La Liga giants. Romeu is at the point in his career where he isn’t willing to sit on the substitute’s bench. That’s a distinct possibility for him if he moves back to Spain.
Then again, his previous runs with big clubs were cut short due to managerial changes and injuries. It’s entirely possible that Barcelona’s next manager would be happy to deploy Romeu in the centre of the pitch. That’s impossible to know before a new boss is named, but you can’t rule it out.
Romeu’s health, of course, is a different matter. It’s impossible to predict, but he’s in the midst of a very healthy 2016-17 season. There’s no reason to think that his body would fail him if he were to return to Barcelona.
The real thing he should fear about moving to another top club is whether or not he’s actually good enough. He’s had a good season for Southampton, but not a great one. I’m not entirely sure a Whoscored.com player rating average of 7.06 in 26 Premier League appearances is indicative of a player who can star for a Champions League title contender.
In the end, it’s Romeu’s lack of star quality that’s likely to keep him at Southampton. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Barcelona make a serious summer bid, but that won’t be enough to secure Romeu. If they really want him to leave the Saints, they’ll need to promise him a spot in the starting XI. That’s very unlikely.
No matter what, Southampton fans should take delight in the thought that one of their players might turn down Barcelona to stay on the South Coast. It’s a testament to what Claude Puel is building.