He came to Barcelona after having doubts over his chance of making the first team at Manchester City. They didn’t need what he offered and was nowhere near ready enough physically for the Premier League.
Those who know Denis Suarez well say he is excited about the chance of returning to Barcelona in January. The midfielder has become a key piece of the team at Villarreal and has great potential. A comfort zone he is ready to leave to try and find a place at Barcelona.
Luis Enrique wanted him back from Sevilla since the summer and Suarez continued learning both there, under Unai Emery, and in this campaign under Marcelino at Villarreal.
“He will be one of the best in the world,” said Eusebio – former Barcelona youth coach – of the midfielder. He came to Barcelona after having doubts over his chance of making the first team at Manchester City. They didn’t need what he offered and was nowhere near ready enough physically for the Premier League.
He debuted under Roberto Mancini, but answered the call of Barcelona. His career sine has been marked by uncertainty over his position. He’s an attacking midfielder, a No 10, but he has been used in teams where this position does not feature. At Barcelona B he played in a 4-3-3.
“I’m a ‘mediapunta’, and this position doensn’t exist in Barcelona’s 4-3-3, and I should adapt to the side and make diagonal balls. Bit by bit I’m learning how it works,” he said in 2013-14. He scored seven goals and got 11 assists in 36 games with the youth team.
The great challenge for Denis will be defensive work. He has not always been picked by his coaches, and admitted: “Emery asked me to move between the lines and strengthen defensively. Now I’m better in clashes.” He could play as a 10 at Sevilla, but didn’t play a huge number of games.
He eventually featured 46 times, with six goals and five assists. “He’s a good kid, but a little unstable. He said that elsewhere he would get more minutes. if he doesn’t want to be here it’s hard to keep him,” explained Emery. At Villarreal he has taken a step forward in a new position.
“Similar to Cazorla and Cani in a few ways,” said Marcelino, of Suarez. In an interior in a 4-4-2, he must work a lot harder than at Sevilla, full of running up and down, and a lot of build-up play, as well as defensive effort. He has three goals and seven assists in 19 games with the Yellow Submarine.
Luis Enrique is happy with the signing. “He’ll be a good option”. The coach wants help in what remains of the season. He can play as an interior but also double up in any of the attacking positions, a two-for-one for the coach. He played some games there, including as a false nine, at youth leel, and Lucho needs some back-up there to help rest his stars, like Neymar.
If the transfer goes through, Lucho will find himself with a footballer who has matured, familiar with different styles and positions. Robert Fernandez has followed his evolution closely.
Barcelona let him sign for Villarreal, reserving a re-buy option in the summer for €3m and €6m the summer after that. There’s no clause to get him in January, but they need to negotiate a new sum with his side. The sealing of the deal depends on Villarreal finding a new transfer target instead of Denis Cheryshev. Real Madrid do not want to sell him.