Barcelona and manager Ernesto Valverde have a tall task in front of them for the upcoming campaign. With pre-season friendlies set to begin and the summer transfer period open, now is the time for the Blaugrana to set themselves up for success in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League.
A solid step in that process took place last week, with the signing of Portuguese international Nelson Semedo on a five-year deal.
The 23-year-old has impressed with both Benfica and his home nation, most recently at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
We take a look at why Semedo will be a success with Barcelona in the coming season and beyond into the future.
Semedo Has Pace
Barcelona often target quick full-backs who can get forward when needed, similar to the skillset of Dani Alves as an example. They have found an apt replacement in Semedo.
The talented defender has a spectacular touch on the ball and is able to create space with relative ease.
Overlapping runs from the right side will once again become a regular sight at the Camp Nou with Semedo now in the line-up.
World-class Talent Around Him
An essential element for a defender is a strong attack. With this thought in mind, Semedo will benefit greatly from his new frontline.
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar put constant pressure on the opposition, and are poised to do so again in 2017-18.
Playing behind the “MSN” trident will allow Semedo’s defensive abilities to flourish and evolve as he begins with Barcelona.
Strong Central Defence
Semedo’s team-mates on the back-line bring major talent and can provide the young full-back with more freedom to play higher up the pitch.
The likes of Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti can stifle scoring opportunities and are disciplined in front of goal.
Thanks to quality defensive work around him, Semedo will be able to grow within the team and progress his own overall abilities.
An Improving Midfield
One of the key areas that Valverde needs to address ahead of the coming season is Barcelona’s midfield, as that area of the lineup led to many of their struggles the last term. But Semedo’s arrival actually brings a benefit to both midfield and defence.
Sergi Roberto occupied the right-back position often this past season. However, with their new signing at full-back, the 25-year-old can now move back to his preferred midfield spot.
With the midfield improving in front of him, Semedo can find positive play in a variety of ways for Barcelona.
Positioning and Discipline
Ultimately, Semedo’s own play will determine his future success in Catalonia. Barcelona have found a defender who fits their system perfectly.
The youngster has displayed excellent discipline in defence along the back-line and understands positioning needs very well. He has shown good strength and featured in over 40 matches for Benfica across all competitions, a testament to his fantastic stamina.
Barcelona and Ernesto Valverde are focused on reclaiming La Liga and the Champions League from their El Clasico rivals, Real Madrid. The signing of Nelson Semedo this summer has the club on the right path to achieve those critical objectives.