• Analysis

How could Barcelona lineup with Joao Cancelo?

Xavi at Barcelona
© Ace Football

The Catalans are keen to sign Cancelo in the remaining days of the transfer window.

Barcelona are heavily linked with a move for Joao Cancelo. Following the departure of Ousmane Dembele, it seems that Xavi is eager to add a new forward-moving full-back to his side’s ranks.

As Cancelo edges closer to joining the Catalans, let’s check out two possible Barcelona lineups with the Portugal international.

Cancelo in a back-four system

Cancelo made a host of impressive displays for Bayern Munich when playing as their right-back last season.

The Portuguese star’s ability to push forward allows him to link up with Raphinha as Dembele’s replacement on the right wing. In this setup, Xavi will most likely use Ronald Araujo and Jules Kounde as his centre-backs, with Alejandro Balde staying at his favourite left-back position.

Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen, Cancelo, Kounde, Araujo, Balde, De Jong, Gundogan, Pedri, Gavi, Raphinha, Lewandowski.

A new formation?

Following Barcelona’s pre-season displays, most observers believe Xavi is planning to use a back-three system more often in the 2023-24 campaign. 

The signing of Oriol Romeu provides Barcelona with a physical midfielder who enables Frenkie de Jong to push forward with more freedom.

The possible arrival of Cancelo takes this system to another level. The Portuguese star’s technical ability and speed could tempt Xavi to avoid using Raphinha as Dembele’s replacement.

Instead, Barca could play with a three-man attacking line of Robert Lewandowski, Ilkay Gundogan, and Pedri.

Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen, Kounde, Christensen, Araujo, Cancelo, Balde, De Jong, Romeu, Gundogan, Pedri, Lewandowski.