Replacing Oriol Busquets was never going to be easy, but, well, it kind of has. His successor was quite obvious, but the transition has been more straightforward than expected. 2000-born Jandro Orellana was the starting pivot in the 2018 Youth League-winning generation, playing alongside teammates a year older than him, but an injury advised keeping him at the Juvenil A in the 18/19 campaign while the likes of Riqui, Collado and Monchu thrived at Barça B.
But this term Jandro has experienced his first full season at the B, and he has impressed. While he initially came in and out of the side, with Ludovit Reis starting frequently and in most away games, quality ended up prevailing. In the end, no one has been able to argue against Orellana starting week in and week out.
Jandro has had a great impact on the team, either directly or indirectly – he has provoked Monchu’s move to central midfield. Orellana embodies what at Barça is called a number 4, Pep Guardiola’s role when he was a holding midfielder. Like Pep, Jandro organises, distributes and reads the game superbly.
Outstanding intelligence, concepts of what a pivot should be very internalised, technical quality, the expertise to know how to position himself and orient his body to favour the ball circulation, and even an improving defensive proficiency. Even if Oriol is incredible too, and possibly has a better physique, Jandro’s measuring of distances is quite unmatched. He needs another year at Barça B, but he’s my favourite heir to Sergio Busquets.