Analyzing Barcelona’s five right-back alternatives

Sergi Roberto with the ball during the match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou on August 13, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

The right-back position continues to be a headache for Barcelona

One of the glaring problems in Barcelona’s disappointing draw against Rayo Vallecano was the lack of an attacking threat by the fullbacks. Jordi Alba’s deficiencies are well documented but even with his dismal display, it was the right-back that caused the most concern.

Ronald Araujo is a very good center-back and is well on his way to potentially being one of the best. However, going forward isn’t his strong suit and it showed. He’s competent enough to put in a good shift but he’s not what you need when trying to break down a defense.

Sergiño Dest appears to not be in Xavi’s plans and Sergi Roberto fared no better when he came on as a substitute during the second half. It should come as no surprise then that after the game, Xavi explicitly stated they needed to find a solution at right-back.

Gerard Romero revealed that Barcelona were in the market for a right-back and have narrowed down their list to five players. Here we take a look at the candidates and how likely it is they’ll get a deal through before the end of the transfer window.

Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund)

The Borussia Dortmund player is one of the names on the list and is reportedly one of the candidates Barcelona prefer.

According to Sport, he is a very real option but the Catalan side is unwilling to pay more than €10 million to acquire him. Meunier was a possibility to join Barcelona during the winter transfer window but was not allowed to leave as Dortmund would not have had enough time to find a replacement.

Another reason he is on their list is the club believes he possesses similar qualities to Cesar Azpilicueta who had been the priority before he decided t renew with Chelsea.

Dortmund are asking for at least €15 million meaning Meunier is currently out of their price range. If they are able to find a suitor for Dest, Meunier’s arrival would seem pretty likely. Given the various financial levers Barcelona have pulled, registering him shouldn’t be a problem.

Juan Foyth (Villarreal)

Villarreal’s Juan Foyth is another candidate on their list and another player Barcelona really like. the former Tottenham player can play as a right-back and center-back.

The main issue in bringing him in would be the price tag as it is believed Villarreal would want around €25 million for the Argentinian.

Unless Villarreal would be willing to negotiate the price down, it seems unlikely Foyth would join. Unless they were to receive close to that amount for Dest, it is likely Barcelona would consider other alternatives.

Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United)

Barcelona might feel there is an opportunity when looking at Manchester United and their current troubles and therefore would be interested in either Dalot or Wan-Bissaka.

Wan-Bissaka was one of the Red Devils’ marquee signings a couple of years back but his inconsistent display saw him lose his place to Dalot.

Manchester United have looked a mess in both their games to start out the Premier League season. While Dalot didn’t have terrible performances, he didn’t show much to prove he could be the answer to Barcelona’s problems.

Wan-Bissaka could be a more favorable alternative since he is currently a backup and might cost less than Dalot. Barcelona also might think that with the right coach, they could get the best out of him.

Both players are seen less of a priority than Foyth and Meunier. But they are options nonetheless. Though United may not feel like letting either of them go. They’ve been linked with Frenkie de Jong nearly the entire summer but that’s unlikely to sweeten any potential deal as the Dutchman has remained adamant he does not want to go to Manchester.

Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen)

Frimpong is the most interesting player of the bunch given he’s the most unknown, relatively speaking, out of the bunch.

The former Manchester City academy product left for Celtic where he impressed enough to earn a move to Germany. The 21-year-old Dutchman is the youngest of the five players Barcelona shortlisted.

Given Barcelona’s win-now situation, his age can play for and against him. Potentially, he could be their answer for the long-term. On the other hand, because he’s 21, the Catalans may not have much patience to see whether or not he can acclimate himself to their style of play. It could be too much too soon and could have a detrimental impact to his career going forward.

For a club who spent as much as they have during the summer, not having a legitimate option at right-back doesn’t speak well to their planning. Going after Bernardo Silva when there are plenty of options in midfield also doesn’t help matters.

Also, with their wage limitations, renewing Sergi Roberto when he’s not an option leaves many scratching their heads. The transfer window closes in a couple of weeks. Barcelona need to prioritize a right-back. Jules Kounde doesn’t want to play there and it’s quite obvious Araujo’s skillset is better suited at center-back.