Clement Lenglet is at a low ebb since arriving to Barcelona in 2018. He has never been an aggressive ball winner, despite his contradictory red cards or errors have always suggested he struggles in do-or-die situations in which he is rushed to make a decision.
Except for these situation, he was supposed to be a calmer figure more reliant on positional sense, anticipation plus ball-playing abilities. Perfect for Barça on paper even if, with Gerard Pique already possessing such qualities, having such a similar profile could be seen as redundant. However, with Piqué’s injury, he was expected to step up as the leader, but he has instead shrunk, with Ronald Araújo marshalling the defence.
In hindsight, it’s too easy to think Lenglet never was that good a defender, but let’s not forget he, for example, became France’s starting centre-back ahead of many top options. This is why it’s so worrying his sudden drop of level, considering he had no physical problems like Samuel Umtiti. Lenglet needs to be careful.
Lenglet is a juicy player to sell for the club, who will need to be very determined in the next window and wait for no one. Araujo, Oscar Mingueza and Eric Garcia could all end higher in the pecking order than the 25-year-old, and I also consider Jorge Cuenca, excelling at Almeria on loan from Villarreal but for whom we have a buy-back option, has a higher ceiling and could replace him as a left-footed centre-back. When Pique is back Lenglet is by no means guaranteed to be a starter, so he must quickly recover his best form if he doesn’t want to be put up for sale.