Friday, June 21, 2024
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Barcelona Transfer News: €40m down the drain? Vitor Roque’s ordeal goes from bad to worse against Mallorca

Vitor Roque, Barcelona, 2023/24

Despite Robert Lewandowski getting a rest against Mallorca, Vitor Roque was merely a Barcelona substitute, once again raising questions about his signing.

The spotlight of the Spanish media has been firmly on young Brazilian forward Vitor Roque in recent days. The wonderkid, who arrived for a whopping initial €40 million in January, has barely played for Barcelona despite the massive outlay from a side that is notoriously cash-strapped.

Unfortunately for Roque, he arrived at a time when Robert Lewandowski managed to regain his form after a forgettable first half of the season, with the Pole proving prolific so far in 2024. Nevertheless, the 19-year-old would have expected to be more than just a sporadic substitute.

A recent report revealed that Roque and his camp are growing increasingly disillusioned with the youngster’s situation. This has even led to suggestions that he could be looking for a way out if things don’t improve, and he certainly won’t have a shortage of loan suitors.

Vitor Roque
© IMAGO – Vitor Roque

Why is Vitor Roque not playing?

The worries about his role in Xavi’s squad will have only increased in light of Barcelona’s game against mid-table RCD Mallorca. Roque was again merely a second-half substitute despite the fact that Lewandowski was rested. The Pole initially joined the Brazilian on the bench, with 18-year-old academy graduate Marc Guiu getting a surprise start instead.

Many were left scratching their heads at this decision and speculation about why exactly Xavi seemingly doesn’t favour Roque has been rampant. One suggestion has been that he is doing this simply to protect the youngster.

Roque was originally scheduled to arrive in Catalunya in the summer, but Barcelona brought his move forward to help him acclimatise to his new surroundings and because Lewandowski was underperforming at the time. Prior to joining, Roque only had a few weeks off after a gruelling season in Brazil during which he also suffered a significant injury.

However, there is also a more sinister interpretation of the situation. There have been suggestions in the Spanish media that the departing head coach was not particularly keen on signing Roque and that sporting director Deco, with his extensive contacts in Brazil, was the main driving force behind the deal.

The implication is that Xavi doesn’t particularly rate him and is not playing him because he isn’t ‘his’ player. Regardless of the reason behind Roque’s lack of minutes, it is clear that Barcelona can ill-afford to squander his talents. Given their debilitating financial issues, they simply can’t afford to flush €40m down the drain.

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