Juventus’ Douglas Costa is the latest player to have drawn links with a move to Barcelona. The Catalans are never away from transfer speculation or an online casino in the case of some players and rumours are never silent in their front. A lot of them don’t really make sense and the Costa one is another such rumour. If the move would’ve happened some years, it would have made much more logic.
This season hasn’t been the best one for Douglas. More than his performances, it has always been about his fitness over the years. At one point, it was about discipline and injuries combined.
Douglas has made only 14 appearances in all competitions this season in Serie A, picking up three assists. The one Champions League appearance he made from the bench won Juventus the game against Lokomotiv Moscow, as he got the stoppage-time winner. It does show that there are still sparks of quality in him like there used to be at Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola.
He has missed 17 games due to injury this season, with all of them being muscle injuries. Last season, he had missed 25 games due to injury and a spitting incident against Sassuolo had kept him out for four games. This had seen his game-time get cut-short further.
The 2017-18 season for him under Massimiliano Allegri had seen him impress on a regular basis. He got 12 assists and four goals in Serie A, while playing only 31 games. A lot of that ability is still there, as evident from his goal against Lokomotiv. In Maurizio Sarri’s 4-3-1-2 shape, he’s been playing as the central attacking midfielder even though it isn’t his usual position.
At 29, he isn’t exactly at the heydays of his career. Injuries have taken a toll, leading to a low output. That should ring bells for any club that comes after him. It is treading into risky waters right away.
Barcelona have been using a possession-oriented 4-3-3 shape under Quique Setien so far. They’ve also gone into games with a Sarri-like 4-3-1-2 or a 3-4-1-2. They press high up the pitch like Setien’s Real Betis side did, as Antoine Griezmann plays upfront and Lionel Messi plays on the right.
Arturo Vidal is being used in advanced positions by Setien due to injuries like Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez and the transfer of Carles Perez. Martin Braithwaite has been brought in, but the club is still short in the attacking areas.
Ideally, someone like Costa can play back-up for Messi or play regularly as the left-winger. But as always, there is little guarantee that he can be there when the need arises. A fit Douglas would be a big bonus, considering he has played a similar possession-oriented and high-pressing system under Guardiola. But he was younger and injury-free- something that isn’t the case now.
Barcelona have become known for making some poor signings over the last few transfer windows. Malcom was an example, as the Brazilian left the club after a season of joining from Bordeaux. Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele have embodied that disappointing transfer policy from the Catalans.
The fact that they had to sign Braithwaite as an emergency signing is proof of that. Douglas would present another such senseless piece of business. A club that is suffering from injury issues should not sign an injury-prone player. It would be a bad idea.