Barcelona’s Bold Short-Term Fix: Oriol Romeu, the new Midfield General set to fill Busquets’s shoes

Barcelona have decided to bet on the 31-year-old defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu as they look to fill the void left by Sergio Busquets.

Barcelona have acquired the services of Oriol Romeu from Girona FC. The 31-year-old defensive midfielder, who came through the ranks of La Masia, has signed a three-year long contract with the club. While the move has been criticised by many across the globe, the former Southampton star could be a great short-term fix for the Catalan giants.

The departure of Sergio Busquets has left a huge void in the team. The 35-year-old has left the club after 18 long years. He came through the ranks and made it to their first team back in 2008. Busquets made the defensive midfielder’s position his own and was a regular for almost 15 years.

The former Spain international has parted ways with the Catalan giants and will now feature for Major League Soccer club Inter Miami alongside former teammate Lionel Messi. There is no doubt about the fact that the 35-year-old was the one who ran the show from the heart of the midfield. And, Barcelona will surely find it difficult to cope with the absence of Busquets.

Vicente del Bosque who guided Spain to the World Cup title in 2010 said, “You watch the game, you don’t see Busquets. You watch Busquets, you see the whole game.”

The departure of a player with the qualities of Busquets can leave a significant void in any team, especially one as illustrious as FC Barcelona. Xavi’s team were in desperate need of a replacement. But they did not have many options to work with for multiple reasons.

As a result, they have decided to bring Oriol Romeu back to the club. While fans as well as experts are questioning his signing, there are compelling reasons to suggest that he could be a solid short-term solution to fill the void left by Busquets.

While Romeu may not possess the same level of experience and stature as Busquets, his unique skill set and potential impact on the team can make him a valuable addition during this transitional period.

Oriol Romeu vs Sergio Busquets

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Comparing any defensive midfielder to the legendary Sergio Busquets is a daunting task, as he stands among the best in the history of the game. His unparalleled vision, positional awareness, and passing precision have set a standard that few can match.

However, drawing comparisons between Oriol Romeu and Busquets can still provide us with valuable insights into how the La Masia graduate might contribute to filling the void left by the 35-year-old maestro. While no one can truly replace the irreplaceable, Romeu’s potential impact can offer a glimpse into how Barcelona may navigate the post-Busquets era.

Romeu has featured in a total of 331 league matches in his senior career while Busquets has been involved in 481 matches. The 31-year-old might not have played as many minutes as compared to the Barcelona legend. But there are a few stats that can help us understand how he can help the Catalan giants.


Sergio Busquets is amongst the best players in the game, and he played in the Barcelona team that dominated world football with their famous ‘tiki-taka’ brand. Meanwhile, the majority of Romeu’s appearances have come for a mid-table Premier League club Southampton. As a result, there will obviously be differences in the numbers between the two players.

However, the 31-year-old still has impressive numbers when compared with the Barcelona legend. The former Southampton midfielder has completed 82.2% of passes throughout his career compared to 89.3% of Busquets. When it comes to short passes, he has a success rate of 88.1 compared to the 35-year-old’s 92.2.

The only major difference between the two players is seen in their long-range passing. The former Spain international has successfully completed 81.6% of his long passes, while Romeu has managed just 64.2%. While the former Girona midfielder has struggled with long ball, he has decent overall numbers which suggest he can do a decent job at Barcelona.

Defensive Actions

Despite having played 150 fewer matches than Busquets, the 31-year-old has some exceptional numbers in the defensive side of things. He has won 347 tackles out of the 446 attempted. Meanwhile, the Spain international has succeeded on 394 occasions out of the 472 attempts.

Romeu has a total of 369 interceptions in his domestic career, while the 35-year-old had 391 despite playing a lot more minutes. The 31-year-old has a total of 269 clearances, while Busquets had a total of just 146.

When it comes to aerial duels, the 31-year-old surely has the edge. He has won 324 duels and has a success rate of 54% while Busquets had a success rate of 50.9%. While the numbers differ because of the teams that they played in, one thing is certain Romeu can surely fill the void defensively.


When it comes to possession-oriented stats, the 35-year-old clearly has the upper hand. He has a lot more touches in all parts of the ground except in his own penalty box for obvious reasons.

However, when it comes to take-ons the former Southampton midfielder has better numbers. He has attempted a total of 138 take-ons and has been successful on 110 occasions which results in a success rate of 79.7%. He has been tackled only on 25 occasions which is just 18.1%.

Meanwhile, the Inter Miami midfielder has only attempted 116 take-ons and has been successful on 90 occasions resulting in a success rate of 77.6. He has been tackled on 24 occasions which is 20.7% of the time.

When all the stats are compared, one thing is certain Romeu could do a decent overall job. While he can’t really replace the 35-year-old, he will help them cope with his absence. The former Saints midfielder will be a great addition in terms of the defensive side of things and he can do a decent job with the ball at his feet.

There are a few other reasons why The Hard Tackle, considers this signing to be a great short-term fix.

Familiarity with La Liga

Oriol Romeu has spent several years in the Spanish top flight, which means he is well-acquainted with the intricacies of La Liga. He has played for both Valencia and Girona. The 31-year-old has enough experience of playing in La Liga. And, since he has come through the ranks at La Masia, he is already aware of the Barcelona style of play.

Tactical Adaptability

While Sergio Busquets is known for his exemplary defensive midfield role, Oriol Romeu brings a different dimension to the position. Romeu is a versatile player with the ability to adapt to various tactical setups. He can provide a more physical presence in midfield, offering solidity and ball-winning capabilities. This versatility can give Xavi the option to experiment with different formations and strategies, tailoring the team’s approach to match specific opponents.

Cost-Effective Solution

Given the financial constraints faced by Barcelona, signing Oriol Romeu is a cost-effective solution. As a short-term signing, the transfer fee and his wages are reasonable compared to other high-profile midfielders. This financial prudence allows the club to allocate resources to other critical areas while still maintaining a competitive midfield presence.

While it is understandable that fans might be sceptical about Oriol Romeu’s signing as a replacement for Sergio Busquets, it is essential to consider the unique qualities he can bring to the team. His La Liga experience, tactical adaptability, maturation, cost-effectiveness, and mentorship potential make him a solid short-term option for Barcelona during this transitional phase.

Although he may not replicate Busquets’s impact immediately, Romeu can undoubtedly play a vital role in ensuring a seamless transition and maintaining Barcelona’s competitiveness at the highest level.

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