22nd January, 2019
It is not a secret that Barcelona lost out in the last edition of the European Champions’ League due to a poor performance by its defensive department.
That was very evident in its match against AS Roma.
As a result of this anomaly, the new Manager, Valverde who was a defender for the club in his playing days has concentrated in beefing up the club’s defensive structure and the result is very glaring as the team has continued to concede lesser goals per games.
However, the club’s gaffer seems not yet satisfied with this as he has continued to look for more defensive options in the transfer market. His efforts have now been rewarded with the signing of a new defender for the team.
Kevin-Prince Boateng has joined FC Barcelona from Italian Serie A side Sassuolo on loan till the end of the season.
The 31-year-old returns to LaLiga for his second spell after impressing at Las Palmas during the 2016-17 campaign, and Barca can purchase him outright for a reported €8million before the loan ends.
Barca’s move for the former Ghana international comes as a shock given the midfielder’s stature in the game, having represented fairly modest clubs in Las Palmas, Eintracht Frankfurt and Sassuolo over the last few years.
Ernesto Valverde had been hoping for attacking reinforcements in January, particularly after seeing Paco Alcacer depart for Borussia Dortmund in the previous transfer window and Munir El Haddadi join Sevilla this month.
Several loan options had been mooted, with Carlos Vela of LAFC, Monaco’s Radamel Falcao and Chelsea star Willian all linked.
But Boateng represents even more of a left-field move than those names.
Boateng was particularly highly rated during the earlier days of his career, impressing at Hertha Berlin and earning a move to Tottenham, but things never worked out in London.
A year at Portsmouth helped him earn a transfer to Milan and he caught the eye on occasion in Serie A, helping them win the title in 2010-11.
Despite often showing flashes of his ability, Boateng is generally regarded to have never quite fulfilled the promise he showed as a teenager at Hertha.
However, in joining Barca he has arguably secured the move of his career and will offer competition in midfield and in the final third, as Valverde’s men fight on three fronts.