1. Jordi Alba Is Ready For The Big Time
Despite having made 109 appearances for Valencia, Jordi Alba was relatively unknown to the wider public before the Euro 2012 championship. His speedy runs, passionate defending and generous effort have allowed the Catalan RoadRunner to jump into the European football spotlight, making him one of the most influential players in the whole tournament.
In La Liga, the economic power and successful history of Barcelona and Real Madrid is such that it is only natural that most players who are selected for the national team come from the Top 2 teams. As a result, players from other clubs must be outstanding to be selected for the squad.
The fact that Jordi Alba has replaced Joan Capdevila and established himself as Spain's first choice left-back in such a short amount of time (He's only played 10 matches for La Roja) is a clear indication that he has the skills to succeed at the highest level.
2. Jordi Alba Attracted Offers From The European Elite
Jordi Alba has performed at such an impressive level in Euro 2012 that it was obvious that many clubs around Europe would be interested in signing him - with Manchester United being the most insistent admirers.
Fortunately for us, the Barcelona representatives started negotiations with Valencia many months ago and were way ahead of the pack. Ideally, I would have liked Sandro Rosell to close the deal before the big tournament started but I believe 14M€ for the 23 year-old star is a fair price considering the Catalan left-back's potential.
I am fully aware that Jordi Alba could have been signed for free next summer but waiting a whole season would have caused unnecessary drama between Barcelona, Valencia, the agents, the media and (who knows?) perhaps Manchester United, Chelsea, City or PSG - who are all much richer clubs than the Catalans anyway.
3. The Connection With Andres Iniesta
Andres Iniesta is, together with Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez, the engine that makes Barcelona work. His creativity and ability to read the game is second-to-none in world football. Don Andres is one of those leaders who make players around him even better.
I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing how Jordi Alba has gelled with Iniesta while on national duty with Spain. Their constant plays, quick passing and smart interchanges from the left wing have definitely been one of my Euro 2012 highlights. The pair have been unstoppable and, watching them, one may think they have played together for years.
I honestly can't wait to see what the Iniesta-Alba connection can add to Tito Vilanova's squad next season!
4. Jordi Alba Knows The Barcelona Philosophy Already
Jordi Alba signed for the Barcelona academy at a very early age but was released by the club in 2005. While you can argue that was costly mistake, it also enabled the player to grow as a footballer in teams such as Cornella, Nastic Tarragona or Valencia.
In a way, it feels like a repeat of the Cesc / Pique story all over again: A player who learns the basic skills and Barcelona formation at La Masia, grows as a player elsewhere and ends up coming back to the Camp Nou after we pay a very hefty transfer fee.
I am aware that, to outsiders, this may not sound like a good business strategy but, honestly, the quality in the Barcelona youth ranks is such that there is simply no room for everyone.
Credit to Jordi Alba for turning what could have been the end of his career into a positive - Success only comes as a result of determination and endless hours of training.
5. Barcelona Desperately Needed A Left-Back
Tito Vilanova was right to prioritize the signing of a quality left-back this summer. Sadly, Barcelona are still unsure of when Eric Abidal will come back to the team (if he ever does) and, let's face it, Adriano is more of a reliable backup than a regular starter. I am aware Muniesa will join the Barcelona first team this summer but he will have to earn his playing time gradually.
I am certain Jordi Alba can use his exceptional speed, strength and passing flair to become one of Barcelona's greats. At just 23 years of age, the Catalan RoadRunner can become our left-footed Dani Alves.
Welcome back, Jordi!!!
Have Your Say
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I welcome and appreciate all respectful feedback.
Posted by: Francesc Tomàs
Founder and Columnist at www.barcablog.com
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