Who is trading up and down for Barcelona this week?

In 'The Barcelona Podcast', we have a regular feature called 'La Bolsa' (The Stock Market) in which we regularly highlight the performances of Barca's best players of the week. We are sure you will enjoy the podcast (our listeners certainly do!) - Listen here:

If you decided not to listen to our latest episode (we won't hold it against you, not too much anyway!), here is 'La Bolsa' for this week:

Carles Aleña - Trading Up

Barcelona are in desperate need of a creative midfielder who can be dominant immediately. Given his performances not only in the Copa del Rey vs Murcia but also in Segunda Division for Barca B, the Aleña-hype that is currently sweeping the Catalan capital is totally understandable. His class, dynamism and vision are continuing to grow at an impressive rate. Although he is clearly a developing player who is not quite ready for first team spotlight yet, there is no doubt that he is on the right track to become a long-term midfield solution for Barcelona.

Jordi Alba - Trading Up

Barcelona are a completely different team when Alba is inspired, confident and at his angry best. The departure of Neymar in the summer was an unexpected blow and, clearly, any team losing such degree of quality shortly before the season starts would be affected. Having said that, the way in which the Catalan full-back has stepped up has revitalised Barca's left flank, adding a level of sharpness to be proud of. His ever-improving connection with Iniesta and Messi is also to be celebrated. A healthy, fit, motivated Alba is the best news Cules could have hoped for in the first third of their season.

Thomas Vermaelen - Trading Up

Vermaelen has been at the receiving end of ongoing criticism since joining Barcelona in the summer of 2014. His disastrous injury record (which resulted in only 11 La Liga appearances in his first two seasons at the Camp Nou) is thoroughly disappointing. With both Mascherano and Umtiti also hit by injury worries in recent weeks, the Belgian international has been trusted by Valverde to cover up at centre-back. The result? Vermaelen has demostrated that, when healthy, he can build calmly from the back, position himself well to compensate for his lack of sharpness and, ultimately, be a reliable defensive option.

Unfortunately, we also needed to highlight the performances of a player who has failed to impress in recent times. Check it out here:

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