OK, we know he hasn’t actually left the building yet. But what if Lionel Messi does actually leave FC Barcelona in this window? Did you believe you’d ever see Messi involved in a transfer? And who might be the next Messi? So many questions, so little time.
Let’s face it – how on Earth do you replace that?
Barcelona haven’t exactly been known for their smart scouting in recent years, but is there a chance that history could kind of repeat itself in a positive way?
We asked our computer the hypothetical question – ‘is there another Messi hiding away in Argentina’ and it came back and told us, ‘you know what, there’s five players who match the great man from a metrics perspective…’
Naturally, we were keen to investigate further – and these were the five players that our super-computer suggested Barcelona might run the rule over just in case they ever found themselves in need of an Argentian forward…
#5 David Barbona – Racing Club
Barbona is 25 years old and currently playing for Racing Club. Standing at 5ft 10, he is a decent physical build for his position. Born in Buenos Aires, he is a powerful, direct dribbler who can play off both flanks. He is left-footed, just like someone else we know.
Watch Barbona in action:
#4 Alex Rodriguez – Newell’s Old Boys
Rodriguez is a product of the Newell’s academy – a club that is synonymous with Marcelo Bielsa. He is diminutive in size, but has very quick feet and knows how to finish.
Watch Alex Rodriguez in action here:
#3 Lauturo Comas – Patronato
Comas is another homegrown talent, this for Patronato. Aged 25, he is a quick, aggressive dribbler with great tenacity. Typically playing off the right, he uses both feet more frequently than anyone else on the list to date.
Watch Comas in action here:
#2 Federico Martinez – Rosario
OK, you got us. Martinez isn’t Argentinian – he is from Uruguay. Currently on loan from Liverpool (no, not that one). Martinez is tearing it up for Rosario. Strong, tenacious, willing to track back could Martinez offer Barcelona a different option?
Watch Martinez here:
#1 Thiago Almada – Velez Sarsfield
How Almada isn’t already playing in Europe is a bit of a mystery. Known by many as the next top talent of the Argentina production line, Almada already has 7 U20 caps to his name and has an incredibly bright future. He’s been dubbed the ‘next Messi’ – Manchester United and Leeds United have both been linked to him in 2020, and Velez are fully aware it is only a matter of time. As you can see below, it is clear to see why so why wouldn’t Barcelona chance their arm on a potential heir to Messi’s throne?
As you can also see here, Velez play an almost similar style of football to Barcelona meaning there is a good chance Almada could slot straight in pretty quickly.
Watch Almada here:
Time for the disclaimer – we are not saying any of these players are 100% the next Lionel Messi. Who possibly could be? Probably nobody. Except Almada – he actually might be.
However, running our super-computer algos threw up these five player who, in terms of metrics, are the closest match to Messi the demigod currently playing in the top-flight of Argentina.
Should Barcelona move for any of them?
We’ll let you be the judge of that – but let’s be honest, there’s some talented players on that list…