FC Barcelona – La Liga Analysis of Dane’s role
Martin Braithwaite has been determined to succeed at Barcelona since his arrival a year ago, but his presence has consistently divided opinion as well.
Here we take a look at the arguments and some of the numbers behind them.
Braithwaite‘s detractors make unfair comparisons to Luis Suarez and, evidently, the Dane is not going to come out of that contest favourably, but he wasn’t signed to replace the Uruguayan.
Barcelona signed Braithwaite as an emergency transfer in February 2020 after Ousmane Dembele suffered a long-term injury, and attempts to compare his contribution to Suarez simply confirm that the club haven’t replaced Suarez, but that’s not Braithwaite‘s fault.
Then there’s the price. At 18 million euros some say the Danish international was too expensive for the calibre of player Barcelona were acquiring, but the club had little choice but to pay his release clause given the circumstances of the deal.
It is worth bearing in mind that on a four-year deal that 18 million euros amortises down to just 3.5 million per year, which, combined with his relatively modest salary, makes him one of the cheaper players on Barcelona‘s books.
In terms of his output on the pitch, his numbers were not great in his first season, only scoring once, but he showed a marked improvement towards the end of 2020 and now has five goals in the current campaign.
To make a bold comparison, legendary Swedish striker and current Barcelona assistant coach Henrik Larsson scored 19 goals in two seasons with the Blaugrana, and if Braithwaite continues his current form, he could hit a similar average in 2020/21.
It is important to note as well that despite the constant debates and his fluctuating playing time, Braithwaite has been nothing but a model professional in his time in Barcelona, with an exemplary attitude on and off the pitch.
Don’t be surprised if the Danish forward keeps working hard and quietly winning over more and more of his doubters.