This is a debate I have often had with housemates at University and is mainly centred around my view that Sergio Busquets is simply a very average player. Yes, I know he plays for the best team in Europe and also belongs to the best National Team. I am also aware that he is starting for both, yet for me, I would want so much more from a player.
To make clear, I reckon there are a few people that watch more La Liga football than me, and there are also people that will have more knowledge on the dynamics of the Spanish national team, but from what I have seen, which will also be more than others, I really think Busquets is a dispensable member of both teams.
Let’s consider his physical attributes firstly. He is tall, 6ft 3 in fact which is a positive for sure, it gives him a presence. But in my opinion this is typically exaggerated by many of the Barcelona and Spain arse licks due to the fact the majority of their team are well under 6ft tall. However, he doesn’t really exude the ‘big bad defensive midfielder’ image considering he continues to fall to the floor as if shot whenever someone touches him, even if its a fair tackle and despite apparently giving Barcelona ‘physical presence’ I can’t imagine him ever giving them the protection they would need if faced with Everton’s Marouane Fellaini or any other attacking player of this mould. The fact Yaya Toure was let go continues to make me feel sick as well, as not only his he twice the holding midfielder Busquets is, but as well as being the size of a mountain he has the ability to win games and/or change them, something I’ve yet to see Busquets do.
Another thing with regards to what he brings to the team, I know he is playing behind the most creative and clinical attacking players in the world, but does that mean he shouldn’t be able to contribute in his own way? Surely if his role is to win the ball and give to it to the likes of Xavi and Iniesta this can become predictable and done by any midfielder in this role? It begs the question what makes Busquets that special (For me at least)? Consider Alex Song who they bought from Arsenal, he was fairly adept at winning the ball for Arsenal, I would fancy him in a tackle over Busquets any day and I am even willing to say he would beat him in an aerial duel as well. Taking this into account, Busquets must therefore give this extra dimension that makes him stand out and a world class defensive midfielder. For me, I can’t quite see it.
Busquets last season made 59 appearances in all competitions and contributed two goals and one assist. Whilst Alex Song playing in a far less prolific team and also a more demanding league week by week made 44 appearances in all competitions and despite scoring just the one goal, he managed to provide 13 assists. Seems that Busquets doesn’t have an extra part to his game compared to Song, so why does he play?
Furthermore, Xabi Alonso has also become a midfielder that plays deeper and deeper, especially due to the array of attacking talent Real Madrid have, rivalled only by Barcelona. So although similar to Busquets his duty is centered around keeping possession and winning it back if lost, why is it that Xabi Alonso scored 5 goals (better than both midfielders mentioned) and provided 11 assists in 64 appearances. Could this ability to perhaps take a set piece, make a defence splitting long pass give Real Madrid that extra dimension that in fact Busquets is missing and ensured Real Madrid in fact won La Liga?
In my opinion, I have not seen anything of Busquets that makes him anything more than ‘a ball winning midfielder’. He does not seem to be the enforcer that everyone claims, nor does he have the ability to surprise the opposition by turning up on the edge of the area to score or even switch the ball to the opposite flank to cause the opposition a new problem. The fact he starts in the Spain squad ahead of the likes of Fabregas, Mata and Cazorla baffles me completely. Why play Busquets AND Xabi Alonso when they are similar yet neither the master of their trade. In this instance, due to the players Spain have at their disposal, perhaps Busquets could be the single ‘enforcer’ to make room for the Spaniards excelling in the Premier League, but why both? Or why not the player that can do Busquet’s job and much more!?
Unless I am missing some hidden talent, or Busquets will continue to grow as a players is yet to be seen but to me. I may come to eat my words and I can only commend Busquets if he becomes the complete midfielder. However, at this time, I would want more from him and in my opinion it is just appropriate he plays for Spain and Barcelona as without the players they have and he surrounds himself with on the field, he would not get as many admirers as he currently does due to his very one dimensional style of play.