It looks almost certain that Carles Aleñá will leave on loan to Betis in January. Rather than the deal in itself, what’s a gross mistake is not giving the youngster the playtime he needs and deserves. Not only is he a hot prospect that we must look to protect at home, but he has the level to be important at Barcelona already and is a valuable piece that gives this squad more variety and competitiveness.
To my mind, Aleñá is the most academic interior at Barça at present. None other positions himself between the lines as him. At Barcelona it’s indispensable not to lose the ball, and for that you need both individual and collective capabilities. Individually, an excellent technique, control and body orientation to make the ball circulation more meaningful. Collectively, positioning is indispensable. Carles ticks all these boxes.
Moreover, he has some traits that make him singular. His forward runs, ability to carry the ball diagonally, arrivals into the box, shots from distance…He gives the manager a lot of alternatives without having to give up on possession.
Then, is Betis the right club for him? The Verdiblancos, despite they are not as good positionally as with Quique Setién, are still an offensive and possession side. Besides, Betis already have plenty of CMs and attack-minded players: Canales, Fekir, Guardado, Joaquín, Tello, Lainez…They all are very versatile, but the question is how high will Aleñá be in the pecking order.
According to reports, Rubi has spoken with the La Masía product, so it means he values him. With William Carvalho’s injury, Bartra has been the pivot in a 4–1–4–1, or the central defender in a 3–4–3. Ideally, and possibly, Aleñá will bench Guardado and Fekir will continue as the false RW, meaning the society Canales–Fekir will have a new component that speaks the same footballing language as them.
Carles isn’t an AM, but a pure interior that can carry the ball from the first stage of build-ups to the final third. He could be important under Rubi. Given that Valverde won’t play him much, and no purchase option will be included, this 6-month loan could be good for the 21-year-old to gain the first team minutes he needs.