In today’s ”On the field” we are going to analyze the signing of João Cancelo. A deal that, as the weeks go by, I believe is going to become one of the most important transfers in European football due to the tactical evolution that Xavi’s team is going to have. The Portuguese is a utility player, right-back who can provide many solutions. At Valencia he alternated the position of right back with central midfielder and winger due to his great offensive contribution. We also saw him in that position at Inter and Bayern. During his time at Juventus he played as a right back but starting from very high up, highlighting his driving and combinations, his great technical level to dismantle the opponents press and low defensive blocks. In his first years at Man City playing as a right back, being an unpredictable player making some unnecessary mistakes but being very difficult to defend him. In the last 2 seasons he has played more as a left back, with the role that Guardiola gives to the full-backs inverting, adding one more player in midfield, having superiority.

Why do I think he can have so much influence at Barça? Well, until now the only player capable of providing depth on the flanks was Balde, so he ended up being more of a left winger due to the very high position in which he played. So on the right side the profile has been defensive, playing Koundé, Araújo or Sergi Roberto.

When Balde and Joao Cancelo become the starters, Barcelona will be able to alternate their attacks on both sides, making it much more difficult to defend Barcelona, being a team too predictable until the appearance of Lamine Yamal. In addition, having left-footed right wingers favor Cancelo, since his main role will be to push up a lot, overlapping and providing offensive creation with assists and breaking  defensive blocks.

There’s a possibility that Xavi decides to switch the shape or maybe he sticks with the 4 midfielders. If Barcelona manages to play in the opponents half for long periods, forcing the opponent to move into their own box due to the threat of the two full-backs, Xavi could consider switching to the 4-3-3 since they would’t have the need to control the game through the midfield, opting many coaches for a low block to defend the flanks and the box.

With 2 full-backs of such a high level, we should not rule out seeing the diamond at some point during the season, either through a 3-4-3 or a formation similar to the one Ancelotti is using such as the 4-4-2.

João Cancelo a loan that will have a major influence on FC Barcelona.

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