Marc Bartra has somehow found himself in a bit of a footballing no man’s land at Barcelona. While he isn’t entirely expendable just yet, he also hasn’t made the desired in-roads into the first XI.
A horrific personal performance in the Spanish Supercup against Athletic Bilbao has probably put paid to his first team aspirations for now.
Even Thomas Vermaelen has come into his own post-injury and will supercede the young Catalan. As such, one has to ask the question…what next for Marc Bartra?
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At 24, arguably the youngster needed to have broken into the senior side on a regular basis by now. In fairness to this particular La Masia graduate, he’s never really done anything wrong. He just hasn’t done enough right.
He has been given every opportunity to stake his claim for a more permanent residency but hasn’t quite hit the heights required.
With a whole host of Premier League clubs after his signature during the summer, Bartra had the perfect opportunity to break free from the chains and start anew.
He chose to stay with the Catalans but then set about fluffing his lines at the first opportunity. Luis Enrique doesn’t have time for passengers and in many respects Barca are victims of their own recent success.
You can’t possibly argue with four Champion’s League titles in nine years. There is no equal in the modern era.
Once Gerard Pique is back from his ban, it’s entirely possible that Bartra once again finds himself as the fifth choice centre-back behind Jeremy Mathieu, Pique, Mascherano and Vermaelen.
To that end, it would be entirely correct that the player would serve the club notice that he intended to ply his trade elsewhere.
In all likelihood, the January transfer window represents a window of opportunity which Bartra has to grasp with both hands if the status quo remains the same. His colleague at Barca B, Martin Montoya, recently accepted the inevitable.
Rather than failure on their part, a move elsewhere is progression. Why bother staying at a club where you pick up your salary each week but don’t justify it? It’s an intolerable situation which benefits nobody, least of all the player himself.
If Bartra were to stay for one more transfer window, there’s a high likelihood that he will be castigated for a lack of ambition. Accused of taking the easy option. That perhaps a lack of personal belief underscores a reticence to move forward professionally.
Indeed, such accusations are only to be expected, given the offers on the table. It would be another watershed moment for La Masia if Bartra were to move on, but a man’s liberty should not be denied him.
Damned if he does move, damned if he doesn’t. What a shame that Marc Bartra’s story isn’t unique.