Setien's dilemma: Should Barcelona replace Luis Suarez?
Barcelona's victory over Granada was a positive start to the Quique Setien era at Barcelona, yet one of the problems which existed prior to his arrival still remains, and that's the long-term injury to Luis Suarez, with the Spanish coach faced will a dilemma of whether to replace him.
Setien hasn't been known as a coach who likes to regularly dip into the transfer market, often preferring to adjust to the players he has at his disposal, which generally gets the best out of them.
In recent years as a coach he has used varying formations: 4-2-3-1 with Las Palmas and a 4-3-3 at Real Betis, although with the Andalusian club he even veered towards a 3-6-1 at times.
In the match against Granada, Ansu Fati was moved into a wide position to start the match, with Antoine Griezmann taking the central role usually occupied by Suarez, however there are a number of alternatives already at the club.
Riqui Puig, Carles Perez and Ansu himself make up the young contingent within the senior squad, and they provide Setien with a chance to tweak his formation.
A 4-4-2 with Lionel Messi and Griezmann in attack could be plausible, or playing a 3-5-2 system and sacrificing one of Ivan Rakitic or Arturo Vidal.
Though, the fact that Suarez's injury has occurred whilst the January transfer window is open leaves Setien with other options.
He can seek a replacement from outside the club either on a short-term basis or as a project for Barcelona's long-term future.
In this article we will perform a theoretical exercise similar to what has already undoubtedly gone on in Barcelona's offices. We shall explore the five major European leagues in search of a player that resembles Luis Suarez.
Based on the performances put in during the 2019/20 season so far, the two players most similar to the Uruguayan international are Sergio Aguero and Wissam Ben Yedder, although there is a third player on this list, something of a wild card in Chelsea's own Tammy Abraham.
At 31 years old you're looking at a short-term solution, and he has a market value of between 50 and 70 million euros which will only decrease from this point forward. He shares a good rapport with Lionel Messi, having played with him for Argentina.
Wissam Ben Yedder:
The Monaco poacher has gone from strength to strength in France, but again age would be an issue given the fact he is 29 years old and also has a market value of between 50 and 70 million euros. He has a goal/shot ratio of 21 percent this year, which equates for a goal with every five shots.
At 22 years old, the England international would represent a long-term investment and this has impacted his CIES market valuation, which currently stands at between 90 and 120 million euros. He has been a revelation at Chelsea this season after having been on loan three times, and whilst he is less of a dynamic dribbler than Suarez, he is technically gifted and dominant in the air.
What if the best replacement for Suarez is another Luis Suarez?
As we have commented in previous articles, LaLiga SmartBank is a competition full to the brim with unknown talent, playing at a level that isn't far below the top divisions in many other countries. In our search for players similar to the Uruguayan, we have come up with Real Zaragoza's own Luis Suarez.
He is currently on loan with the Spanish club from Watford and at 22 years old has a market value of 4.5 million euros, according to Transfermarkt. His contract is due to end on June 30, 2020, which would give Barcelona somewhat of an advantage. This season he has scored 14 goals, with only Cristhian Stuani scoring more than him, however he boasts a better efficiency rating by having a 15 percent goal/shot ratio.