Barcelona's season collapsed after a horrendous week which included defeats to Real Madrid in La Liga and Chelsea in the Champions League. While the other 4 titles lifted this year can't be overlooked, it must be said that Barcelona were unable to beat teams who opted for ultra defensive formations at crucial points of the season.
Lionel Messi is a football genius and top goalscorer in Barcelona history but, despite his 73 goals, the team suffered when it mattered most. Sure, the injuries from David Villa, Pedro, Alexis Sanchez and Afellay weakened our attacking power but I felt we lacked a Plan B, a second route towards goal when tiki-taka simply wasn't working.
Barcelona Has Historically Had 'Plan B' Strikers
Johan Cruyff is regarded as the father of Barcelona's attacking football, the hidden guru behind the success of future managers such as Frank Rijkaard or Pep Guardiola.
Barcelona's Dream Team in the early 1990s was lead by Ronald Koeman in defence, young Pep Guardiola in midfield and Hristo Stoitchkov and Romario upfront. But one small detail can't be forgotten: Johan Cruyff often turned to skinny, clever giant Julio Salinas whenever his Barcelona needed that extra, different attacking option at the end of matches.
Johan Cruyff won Barcelona's first ever Champions League in 1992 and was then famously sacked in 1994 due to ongoing disagreements with former president Josep Lluís Núñez. Barcelona had to then wait until 2006 to lift our second Champions League - a 14 year European drought which was mainly caused by the Barcelona board's decision of employing managers who largely preferred strength to skill (such as Bobby Robson or Louis Van Gaal)
Frank Rijkaard's Barcelona will always be remembered because of the magic of Ronaldinho, the raw pace of Samuel Eto'o and the early sparks of brilliance from a certain Lionel Messi.
But don't forget the massive part played by Henrik Larsson, the veteran Swedish striker who landed at the Camp Nou after an incredibly successful career at Celtic Glasgow, scoring 242 goals in 313 appearances.
For Barcelona, signing Larsson was a no-brainer: An experienced, proven striker on a free transfer? Yes, please! For Larsson, the opportunity to come to the Camp Nou was a great chance to add further silverware to his individual trophy cabinet.
A win-win situation for both player and club: Larsson ended up scoring a very valuable 19 times for Barcelona despite only playing 58 matches, mostly as a substitute.
Thierry Henry explained the following after losing the 2006 Champions League final to Barcelona:
"People always talk about Ronaldinho and Eto'o and people like that; you need to talk about the proper footballer who made the difference, and that was Henrik Larsson tonight"
Who Should Barcelona Choose As 'Plan B' Striker?
I have recently read Barcelona are reportedly interested in Miroslav Klose, Germany's eternal striker. With 63 goals in 115 appearances for Die Mannschaft, denying his goalscoring ability would be ridiculous. Having said that, I am less impressed with his club form: 34 year-old Klose has only netted 27 times in his last 97 matches at Bayern Munich and Lazio.
My question at this stage is clear: What about Didier Drogba? The 34 year-old Ivory Coast striker just left Stamford Bridge after leading Chelsea to their first ever Champions League. The experienced striker has succeeded at club, country and European level and would join Barcelona on a free transfer. Drogba has scored 181 goals in 396 appearances since 2003, averaging a remarkable 44 matches per season on average.
According to the Catalan media, Barcelona has also considered other options: Frédéric Kanouté (35 years old, 128 goals in 270 matches at Sevilla, free agent), Diego Forlan (33 years old, 155 goals in 325 matches while at Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, currently at Inter Milan) or Diego Milito (32 years old, 61 goals in 125 matches for Zaragoza in La Liga, currently at Inter Milan)
Considering all of the options above, my choice is clear: Signing Didier Drogba must be a priority - as long as he is willing to accept a backup role as Barcelona's Plan B striker.
Didier Drogba's experience, proven goalscoring record and winning nature would definitely increase the quality of Tito Vilanova's squad.
What We Learned
While Barcelona should focus on reinforcing our defensive line with a strong central defender and a speedy left-back, it is also true that some of our transfer budget must be allocated to signing a proven, experienced, taller striker who has the ability to come in as a Plan B when matches turn ugly.
Building on the legacy of Pep Guardiola will not be easy but adding Didier Drogba as a Plan B would definitely help Barcelona on our new journey.
Let's hope Barcelona get it right and we can welcome our new 'Henrik Larsson' soon.
Have Your Say
What did you think of this article?
Does Barcelona need a Plan B striker?
Who would you prefer for the Plan B striker role: Klose, Drogba, Milito, Kanoute or Forlan? Why?
Did I miss out on any important points you would like to share with us?
I welcome and appreciate all respectful feedback.
Posted by: Francesc Tomàs
Founder and Columnist at www.barcablog.com
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