Why Barca have turned Basel’s Arthur Cabral to solve No.9 issues
Barcelona are targeting FC Basel striker Arthur Cabral as the player to solve their issues at centre-forward.
The 23-year-old Brazilian currently plays in the Swiss Super League and will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Mohamed Salah and Erling Haaland by graduating from that level to succeed at the top of the game.
Barca already have one graduate of Austria’s top flight in their ranks, with Yusuf Demir on loan from Rapid Vienna with an option to buy.
While the 18-year-old Demir is seen as a long-term replacement in an attacking midfield role, Cabral would be added to Barcelona’s ranks as a player to make an immediate impact up front.
After all, Barcelona need reinforcements offensively. Martin Braithwaite is out long-term and there remains grave concerns over Sergio Aguero’s ability to continue his career after recently suffering a heart problem.
Memphis Depay is currently filling the No.9 position, but this is not the Dutchman’s strongest position.
These issues have been amply displayed by Barcelona’s return of just one goal in Xavi’s two games in charge – and even that was a hotly disputed penalty.
Cabral is about more than goals
Cabral, who Sport reports could arrive on loan before a move worth €20 million, would tick a lot of boxes for Barcelona and the style that Xavi wants to impose on his team.
First and foremost, he is an excellent finisher, as 13 goals from his 13 league matches this season are testimony to.
Xavi, though, will want more from a No.9 that just goals. Cabral is solid technically, providing good passing quality and decent dribbling ability. He may not be outstanding in these attributes, but there is a platform from which to improve.
Arthur Cabral (2021/22)
Where Cabral does excel, meanwhile, is defensively. He recovers a prodigious amount of possession in terms of tackling and intercepting, while he is also one of Austria’s best forwards when it comes to pressing opponents.
These attributes may not be what Xavi judges his forwards on, but they are certainly highly desirable in the way he wants his team to play.
Cabral may not be the most glamorous signing that Barcelona make, but he could prove a very useful one indeed.