Lucas Barrios: Why Liverpool And Arsenal Should’ve Signed the Prolific Paraguayan
When Borussia Dortmund signed Lucas Barrios from Colo Colo in the summer of 2010, it was a deal which excited Dortmund fans. It was hoped he would be a better version of Nelson Valdez, who was a success at Dortmund for his teamwork and tenacity, but whose goals record was sadly lacking: having also just lost Alexander Frei in the 2009 close season, there was even more of an onus on Barrios to perform. And perform he did. Dortmund finished the season in fifth, but Barrios scored 19 goals in 33 Bundesliga games, an excellent record in his debut season. And in their title-winning campaign of last season, he managed 16 goals in 32 league appearances. He was the club’s leading scorer in his first two seasons at Dortmund. Yet six months on, he can barely get a game. His ears were twitching as the rumours of a transfer to Liverpool or Arsenal circulated.
The reason for that is that he’s just been unlucky. He helped Paraguay reach the finals of the Copa America in the summer, but unfortunately suffered a thigh injury towards the end of the tournament, managing just a fourteen minute run-out in the final as Paraguay were beaten 3-0 by a Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan’s Uruguay. The injury meant he missed Dortmund’s entire preseason and only returned to fitness in late September. While he was convalescing, Polis striker Robert Lewandowski was making hay: Lewandowski has 14 goals and seven assists to his name in his 19 Bundesliga matches this season, all of which he ha started. Barrio has amassed just one start, against Schalke where he failed to score, and ten appearances from the bench.
As someone who was so important to the club but is now warming the bench, Barrios isn’t happy in Dortmund and rumours of him quitting Signal Iduna Park have been building a head of steam for a while now. In December, he was quoted as saying “I don’t intend to sit on the bench for another six months… I’ve got other plans”, to which his manager Jürgen Klopp paid little mind. His value is estimated at €13 million, but with two years remaining on his current deal, Dortmund would be better off cashing in on him. They would be losing an exceptionally gifted player, but in Lewandowski they have a perfect replacement for the role as a lone striker.
In December, he was quoted as saying “I don’t intend to sit on the bench for another six months… I’ve got other plans”, to which his manager Jürgen Klopp paid little mind.
Arsenal and Liverpool were both heavily linked with him during the transfer window. Indeed, both of those clubs would be a great fit for him. Arsenal play an attractive brand of football and really need a striker to take the weight off. RVP. Liverpool also play a similar style of attacking football, at least without Andy Carroll. A front two of Barrios and Luis Suarez would be a mouthwatering prospect for Liverpool fans.
Now that the transfer window has closed, Barrios surely has to move on in the summer to ensure he doesn’t stagnate at the peak of his career. He’s 27 and hasn’t been playing regularly since the summer. And Marco Reus, a born-and-bred Dortmunder, and a fans’ and manager favourite, will be arriving at Dortmund from Borussia Mönchengladbach, meaning Barrios will fall even further down the pecking order. The Paraguayan could always hold out hope that Lewandowski suffers a similar injury playing for Poland at EURO 2012, and misses pre-season in July and August, like Barrios did himself. But that’s a long shot.
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