How Deulofeu could break up the MSN at Barcelona

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Barca's brilliant trident could be separated next season following the arrival of the Catalan winger on a buy-back deal from Everton on Friday


ANALYSIS

It could be a different MSN for Barcelona in 2017-18. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar will all be in the team for Ernesto Valverde next season, but the arrival of Gerard Deulofeu could break up the much-admired attacking trio on the pitch.

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After Suarez signed from Liverpool in the summer of 2014 and sat out the remainder of his ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, the Uruguayan quickly formed an understanding with Messi and Neymar as Barca won the treble in 2014-15.

The three have broken all sorts of goalscoring records since then and were described by Luis Enrique last year as "the best trident in the history of football".

Barca possible 2017-18 graphic

However, a switch to 3-4-3 ahead of the Champions League clash against Paris Saint-Germain at Camp Nou saw Messi utilised in a deeper role with Rafinha on the right and one of Barca's priorities in this transfer window was to bring in a right-sided forward.

Deulofeu was their top target and the club have told the Catalan, currently away with Spain's Under-21 side at the European Championship in Poland, that he will be a starter for the Blaugrana on his return to Camp Nou.

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The idea is to use Deulofeu on the right of the attack, with Messi operating in a deeper role in midfield behind the former Everton winger, Neymar and Suarez. In fact, Barca could even opt for a 4-1-3-2 formation, with Deulofeu alongside the Argentine in the line of three and Sergio Busquets in a deeper position to shield the defence.

Gerard Deulofeu Milan Bologna Serie A

Lionel Messi Neymar Luis Suarez MSN Las Palmas Barcelona LaLiga 14052017

Deulofeu, who is 23, made his Barca debut under Pep Guardiola but failed to establish himself at Camp Nou and was loaned out to Everton and then Sevilla, before a permanent move to Goodison Park in 2015.

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He then spent the second half of last season on loan at AC Milan and the Italian club were keen to sign him permanently, but Barca retained a buy-back option of €12 million until Friday and confirmed that they have exercised that clause.

The winger is the club's first summer signing, but the Blaugrana still hope to bring in a midfielder (with Marco Verratti their top target) and a right-back (where Hector Bellerin is their first choice) in the coming weeks.

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