Portuguese star Nelson Semedo in contract extension talks with FC Barcelona amidst transfer rumours of interest from Spain, England, Italy and Germany.
In 2016, Brazilian star Dani Aves who was the first choice right-back for FC Barcelona chose to part ways with the club after having a stellar campaign winning every trophy in Europe during his eight years at the club. With the Brazilian’s departure, Barca was left with a daunting task to scout for a player having huge boots to fill in left by Alves. The sheer pace, accurate crosses, sublime tackles – Dani Alves was a complete package who could be depended upon at any time by the team. On Barca’s scouting radar following consistent performances back in Portugal, Nelson Semedo outshone for Benfica winning accolades during his two-year senior team stench. FC Barcelona was hoping they had found the perfect replacement for Alves.
A right full-back typical for FC Barcelona’s playing style; Nelson Semedo could be described as fast, accurate and buzzing with potential. Eventually, in the summer of 2017, Nelson Semedo signed for FC Barcelona on 14 July for a transfer fee of EUR 36 million and took up the responsibility of filling the right-back position to strengthen the side. Competition, adaptation and position rotation has been a strength of the Catalan giants and Sergio Roberto was a first choice right-back under Ernesto Valverde since 2017. But under Quique Setien, Semedo has received many opportunities and the 26-year-old defender has managed to justify the faith the Barca manager has shown in him.
Differential: Sergio Roberto vs Nelson Semedo
A naturally gifted right-back who started his career in 2011 in Portugal has climbed the ranks and caught the attention of Europe’s big clubs because of his pace, ball control and defending abilities.
Sergio Roberto vs Nelson Semedo.
A makeshift right-back Sergio Roberto had very well cemented his place as a first-team starter under Valverde following the departure of Dani Alves in 2017. Roberto who used to play as a midfielder had well accustomed to the right-back position with quality passing and gameplay suiting the Blaugrana style of play. In comparison to him, Nelson Semedo a natural right-back brings in more pace, attacking options and enforcing the defensive problems for which FC Barcelona have always been criticised for. Quique Setien has full faith in Semedo and has backed the player’s fitness and commitment towards the team. It looks certain that since Roberto would take up the midfield role in the side which is his first preference, Semedo will be a regular starter at right-back for the squad.
Semedo has appeared in 32 matches in La Liga this season keeping a clean sheet in 13 of them. An impressive 41% clean sheet ratio for a defender. Also, for a defender to pick up just 2 yellow cards the entire season is impressive as it reflects on his clean tackling abilities.
Currently, it is understood that FC Barcelona is working on extending contracts for four players in the squad including Semedo, Lionel Messi, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and 17-year-old La Masia star Ansu Fati. According to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, the talks over a new three-year contract between FC Barcelona and Semedo have entered into an “advanced” stage. Semedo has requested an increase in his wages and to better his release clause, which is currently at USD 117 million and is one of the lowest in the squad.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the option to spend cash has reduced for many clubs in the current transfer market and they are looking at using players in swap deals. Since June, Semedo has been linked with Manchester City for a swap deal with fellow Portuguese international Joao Cancelo. Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Juventus are namely the top clubs who have also shown interest in the Portuguese. Even though the coronavirus pandemic has shaken up FC Barcelona’s transfer plans, it looks like going in the favour of Nelson Semedo. Guess, we will have to wait for an official update from the club on the future between the Portuguese right back and the club. With the UEFA Champions League left to conclude, both parties may come to a decision before the end of August