Xavi Told Exciting Barcelona Teen ‘Could End Up as a No.9’

Xavi Hernandez

Getty Xavi Hernandez

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has already handed teenage winger Angel Alarcon his first-team debut this season and has now been told the youngster could end up playing as a No. 9 for the Catalan giants.

Xavi has admitted that Alarcon is “an option” to replace winger Memphis Depay in the senoir squad after seeing the Netherlands international leave for Atletico Madrid in the January transfer window.

Barcelona sporting director Ramon Planes has now said that he believes Alarcon could end up as a No. 9 at the Camp Nou and highlighted his qualities in an interview with The Athletic.

“He has played as a winger most of the time, but he can operate at any position in the attacking front. I actually believe he could end up as a No 9 at Barcelona,” he said. “He is not the typical silky and skilful winger you can picture from La Masia. He is powerful with his movements, vertical and has a special sense for goal. He is always looking at the opposition box. He thrives in transition; he might be a bit ‘English’ in that regard. But when he’s on the pitch, things start to happen.”

Alarcon is still part of the Under-19 squad at Barcelona but made his debut against Ceuta in the Copa del Rey in January, coming on as a substitute for Raphinha. The 18-year-old has gone on to make three more appearances in La Liga so far this season.

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Barcelona Place Trust in Alarcon

Barcelona have already demonstrated their faith in Alarcon. The Catalans handed the youngster a new two-year contract in January with a release clause set at 400 million euros.

The club also confirmed that Alarcon would be part of Rafa Marquez’s reserve squad next season, although if he continues his current trajectory he has every chance of being part of the senior set-up for 2023-24.

Xavi has already talked up the youngster and made it clear he likes Alarcon’s versatility in a press conference ahead of Barcelona’s Copa del Rey clash against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

“The other day he came in, I have a lot of confidence in him, he is versatile, he can play in the center or on the wing,” he told reporters. “He is strong, he can be very useful in the present and in the future, I like him a lot personally.”

Barcelona Looking to the Future

Robert Lewandowski is Barcelona’s current No. 9 but there’s no doubt that the Catalans are already looking to the future and possible replacements for the 34-year-old Poland international.

Alarcon may well be one option but exciting Brazilian teenager Vitor Roque is another. The forward has already admitted he would love to play with Lewandowski at Barcelona with a view to succeeding the striker at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona have since held “positive” talks with Roque’s club side Athletico Paranaense regarding a move, according to Relevo. The club are hoping to sign the youngster in a deal worth approximately 40 million euros in the summer transfer window.

Finances remain a problem at Barcelona, meaning the club may need to make sales first. Barca may also try to bring in Roque on loan initially with the transfer including a mandatory purchase option in 2024.

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