The January transfer window in the sport of football has always provided some genuinely interesting rumours with clubs from around Europe linked with big money moves for star players to save their seasons halfway through. Spanish giants Barcelona are currently happy with the options at their disposal this season but they were dealt a blow recently after it was revealed that Premier League outfits Manchester City are monitoring the status of star player Lionel Messi for a move at the end of the season.
The Argentine magician is one of the best players to have played the game and is in the prime of his career. He is an admirer of the Catalan outfit and is not ready to leave yet but the Premier League clubs are confident that they can lure him away from Spain.
Barcelona were put on high alert earlier this month as their representatives have been sent into a hurry to prepare a new deal for Lionel to try and keep him at the club for the long term. It is hard to see Messi turning it down but if Barcelona fails to tie him to the club and end up losing him, it will be nothing short of a disaster. It can have a long lasting effect on the squad but here are 3 ways they can cope with his absence:
Luis Enrique and his previous managers have made the Barcelona side play a system that gets the best out of the Argentine in attack. The whole team is happy to get Messi on the ball and trust him to create the chances but if Messi is gone, they may have to find a new system or a player capable of thriving in it. Luckily, they have their Brazilian superstar Neymar Jr in their squad. Neymar has been the first choice for the club for more than a couple of seasons now and is more than capable of taking up the mantle from Lionel, which might be the case if the Argentine leaves.
A change in system:
Barcelona have a profound style of play that can make even the best of the defenders look mediocre. They are well tuned in this system and have players that excel in such an environment. This has been the secret of their success but with Lionel Messi, the lynchpin of the system gone, it may not be as effective. Barca can still find players who can win them games but they will not find a player who can do what Messi does on the field. So they will have to change their style of play, at least a bit, to adjust to the challenges of a Messi-less Barcelona side.
The La Masia:
Arguably the most productive youth system in the world, the La Masia is the youth system of Barcelona and it has, in its time, produced some top class players. The likes of Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi have stopped a number of youngsters from moving into the first team at the club and if Messi quits, Barca might not have to look too far for replacements. It is hard for Barcelona to replace the quality of Lionel Messi but they surely have a number of youngsters who can grow on to become top class players for the side. If Messi leaves, Barca need not have to work too hard to get back on track.