Look, I know what I said regarding Dybala and being a nightmare for the archetypal modern-day coach, and Xavi Hernandez epitomises modernity, but I’ve had a vision. A vision of Dybala replicating Lionel Messi’s false nine role during the glorious Pep Guardiola era.
Xavi has rapidly rebuilt a slumping supergiant with similar principles to those inculcated by his former manager in Catalonia. Crucially, the additions of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adama Traore have provided Barcelona with runners in behind, while Ousmane Dembele’s timely renaissance means Xavi’s side are more unpredictable and explosive down the flanks.
Thus, Dybala represents a player that some might argue Xavi doesn’t need. He’s another ball to feet player whose contribution out of possession somewhat resembles Messi’s throughout his apex. However, the idea of signing La Joya on a free and utilising him centrally with a pair of runners on either side surely has to be considered by the Catalans, who have been linked with a move for a centre forward this summer.
While Aubameyang has hit the ground running and supplies Xavi’s side with a distinct goalscoring threat, he leaves plenty to be desired in terms of link-up play. He struggles to play off one touch with any precision, unlike Dybala. And while Dybala doesn’t boast the penalty box prowess nor the athleticism of the former Arsenal hitman, he possesses the requisite technique and astuteness in terms of space occupation to effectively perform the false nine function.
His vacation of the central space could create a gaping void for the likes of Ferran Torres and Frenkie De Jong, who’s often surged beyond the defence since Xavi came in, to exploit.
It’s an intriguing possibility, one that I think could work. I like the idea of Dybala going to La Liga and playing in Catalonia, but I’m not sure whether Xavi will pursue the Argentine.
Suitability Rating: 7.5/10