A transfer that makes complete sense for Tottenham

Sergi Roberto

It’s a transfer story that comes from way out in left field – and yet one that makes complete sense. Tottenham are looking to sign Barcelona’s Sergi Roberto ahead of what many thought would be the player’s permanent promotion from Barcelona B.

The reports linking Spurs with the midfielder seem to emanate from the player’s unhappiness at a lack of first-team football. For Tottenham, it could be an incredible coup if brought in for the right price.

The first question about this story is how much truth there is to it. It’s not so much that Spurs wouldn’t look to sign a player as talented as Sergi Roberto, but rather why Barcelona would look to let him go. Incidentally, players like Sergi Roberto and Thiago were seen as the long-term staples of the Barcelona squad. It’s not to suggest he will be Xavi or Andres Iniesta’s replacement, but he is good enough to be a regular in the Barcelona team in the future. Yet like a number of stars at the Camp Nou, the Barcelona B midfielder looks set to be caught up in a whirlwind of speculation heading into this summer.

For Tottenham, they would be addressing the need for a midfield creator over the long term. It’s not to say Sergi Roberto couldn’t make a good number of appearances in the Premier League next season for Spurs, but he is still a little way out from becoming a top team’s focal point in midfield.

It’s worth looking at how easy the player looked to slip into Barcelona’s midfield during his call ups, especially in their Copa del Rey clash with Cordoba. He linked up well with the other midfielders and looked like a typical La Masia product, complete with technical flair and intelligence. It has long been thought that this would be a player to command a place in the Barcelona first-team squad as of next season, with cameos in the cup competition preparing him for that step up.

One likely scenario – and one that Barcelona have exercised with many of their sales in recent seasons – is the one which sees Sergi Roberto move to Tottenham with a buy-back clause inserted into his sale. Probably the most pointless transfer for Tottenham then, as even with his current talent, he is still very much a player for the future. It will take a matter of adapting to English football (remember, he hasn’t had a run of games in La Liga yet) and then once he’s about to hit his stride, Barcelona step in and take him back to Spain.

That’s the difficulty in working with Barcelona and trying to pick up some of their younger talents, even those who are unlikely to see a lot of first-team minutes in the coming season. Sergi Roberto is unlikely to go the same route as Oriol Romeu if he arrives in England, with Tottenham much more likely offer him the surroundings to develop as a player. What you’re likely to see from the player is a very good dribbler of the ball and one who is far more likely to start attacks from a deep midfield position. He is unlikely to ever become a midfielder who reaches double figures for scoring, but his ability to create goals for others is where his strengths lie.

To reiterate, this is not the next Xavi or Iniesta, although he does possess traits of both of those midfielders in his game. It would also be a transfer worth overlooking if Tottenham are just being used to develop the player to the sole benefit of Barcelona. However, should the Catalans have a clean release from the player (something which I doubt will take place at this stage), Tottenham could be picking an exceptional talent. The midfield won’t be addressed immediately with this signing, but Sergi Roberto has the talent to become one of Tottenham’s most important players in a few short years.

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