Neymar to Barcelona is by far the most talked about transfer so far this summer.
The Catalans completed the deal towards the end of last season for €57million before the Brazilian lit up the Confederations Cup in his own country. Neymar proved his worth with some sensational performances as the Brazilians went onto win the tournament. The 21 year-old tormented defenders with his lightning quick feet, intricate skills and explosive pace from the left wing which saw him score and create a number of sensational goals.
Despite Barcelona winning La Liga, last season was a huge disappointment by their own standards. The hefty defeat to Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the Champions League was embarrassing to say the least and it would prompt the end of the Catalan’s European dominance, momentarily.
The capture of Neymar is massive for Barcelona but how will the Brazilian wonder kid fit in to Tito Vilanova’s system?
The Catalans are renowned for their fluid 4-3-3 tactic created by Pep Guardiola, however last term there was a weakness in the system. David Villa, operating on the left hand side of the attacking three, was a shadow of his former self throughout the season. This resulted in Andres Iniesta being forced on to the left wing, disrupting his influential partnership with Xavi in the heart of Barca’s midfield. Therefore Neymar is likely to replace David Villa, who has departed the Nou Camp for Atlético Madrid, on the left wing which will free up Iniesta to return to his favoured position alongside Xavi.
Vilanova will be hoping Neymar and Jordi Alba can forge an instrumental relationship on the left wing. The left-back will be encouraged to bomb forward at every opportunity, stretching defences, granting Neymar the time and space to run at opposition defences and cut inside onto his favoured right foot.
With two of the most talented footballers in the world playing alongside each other Barcelona will be a huge threat going forward. Messi has been in ridiculous goal scoring form of late and Vilanova will be hoping Neymar can ease the burden on the Argentina forward by chipping in with a number of goals.
With Messi playing through the middle in his favoured false number nine role, Neymar will slot in perfectly on the left hand side. However he also possesses the ability to play through the middle and therefore will regularly swap positions with the Argentinian, each taking it in turn to drift inside and wreak havoc amongst the opposing defence.
Another option Vilanova may consider is playing the pair in more central roles. As an attacking two, their pace and creativity will cause problems for the sternest of defences, and Neymar’s presence will almost certainly create more space for Messi to thrive in and vice versa.
Neymar’s arrival could not have come at a better time for the Catalans. They needed rejuvenating after a disappointing season and I am almost certain he will strike up a sensational partnership with Messi over the coming years which will result in Barcelona soon becoming kings of Europe, again.