Game over for Pedri? Barcelona’s best alternative is up for sale

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • Updated: 4 Mar 2024 21:59 GMT
  • 4 min read
Pedri, Barcelona, 2023/24

Pedri’s latest injury setback is cause for thought at Barcelona, with the prodigiously talented 21-year-old persistently beset by problems.

One of the world’s leading players on his day, Barca have previously expressed major reservations over retaining the former Las Palmas star because of his persistent unavailability.

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Pedri has already missed two spells this season because of muscular complaints, and after he limped off the field in tears against Athletic Club on Sunday after 45 minutes, there are genuine fears that his season could be over.

READ MORE: Barcelona's 'EXTREME FEARS' confirmed: Arsenal's minds made up over superstar transfer

Regardless of the player’s talent, Barcelona need to be examining the possibility of replacing him.

Thankfully for the Catalans, there is a Chelsea player coming onto the transfer market who might not be able to able to replicate the quality of Pedri, but might at least get close to it and will be available on a regular basis.

That man is Conor Gallagher, who finds himself subject of a war between manager Mauricio Pochettino and owner Todd Boehly. While Pochettino has made the midfielder his captain and leader of the team from midfield, Boehly wants to sell the England international to ease the club’s financial problems relating to profit and sustainability.

READ MORE: Roberto Martinez is the PERFECT coach for Barcelona

Pedri left the field in tears against Athletic Club
© IMAGO - Pedri left the field in tears against Athletic Club
Conor Gallagher: heading for Chelsea exit
© IMAGO - Conor Gallagher: heading for Chelsea exit

With Pochettino under fire at this moment, the American is the likely winner.

The data underlines just why Gallagher is a suitable replacement for Pedri.

Using the Player Comparison tool of data analytics experts SciSports, FootballTransfers searched for players with the following conditions:

  • Central midfielder
  • 80% minimal similarity in style to Pedri
  • Offensive positioning: Top third in their league in last 3 years
  • Finishing: Top third in their league in last 3 years
  • Defensive positioning: Top third in their league in last 3 years

These attributes are based from Pedri’s three strongest areas based on SciSports’ data from last season. Although he ranks well this term in many areas, a lack of minutes makes this unreliable.

Why Gallagher to replace Pedri makes sense

Gallagher comes out on top as Pedri’s ideal replacement under these conditions.

The 24-year-old has a SciSkill score, calculated using hundreds of in-game data points, of 102.7, which is short of Pedri’s 111, but at least approximates the quality the Spaniard brings. None of the other options are above three figures.

Gallagher has been on great form this season
© IMAGO - Gallagher has been on great form this season

The stumbling block for Barca, though, comes with the player’s price. Gallagher has an Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) of nearly €40 million, while Chelsea are likely to demand more like €50-60m.

The Catalans’ financial position, meanwhile, is delicate and will not allow for a move at this price point without a sale.

READ MORE: Latest Barcelona transfer rumours

An alternative could be Gabri Veiga of Al-Ahli.

His decision to move to the Saudi Pro League despite interest from the likes of Barcelona, Chelsea and Liverpool last summer came as a major surprise.

However, there are reports that he is unhappy and could move back to Europe.

Barca could give him that opportunity as a like-for-like alternative for Pedri.

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