What a difference five months make. A Paolo Dybala-inspired Juventus thumped Barcelona 3-0 in the Champions League quarter finals back in April but, on Tuesday night, the Spanish giants reversed the scoreline with a little help from their own Argentine number 10.
Ernesto Valverde has dispelled the crisis talk in style with four wins in a row in all competitions and the differences between he and former manager Luis Enrique are as clear as a Catalan sunrise.
The midfield, most importantly of all, is back in vogue. While Enrique’s game plan appeared to rest wholly upon giving the ball to the ‘MSN’ as quickly as possible, Valverde’s Barca dominated Juventus in the centre of the park.
And that bodes well for a player who struggled so badly under Enrique last season. It’s fair to say Andre Gomes did not live up to his huge price tag in his debut season at the Camp Nou but he appears a far better fit for Valverde’s controlling style.
New era, new Gomes?
The Portuguese international impressed off the bench in Saturday’s 5-0 thrashing of local rivals Espanyol and his driving runs from deep and expansive passing range, skills which rarely saw the light of day last season, could come in handy for a manager who sees the midfield as key.
Therefore, you wonder whether Tottenham Hotspur will have a much more difficult task attempting to bring the former Valencia midfielder to North London in the next transfer window.
The Mail reported that Barcelona were willing to let £41.7 million Gomes move to Spurs, or even West Ham, on deadline-day, only to pull the plug as they failed to find a replacement. And the Daily Star reports that Mauricio Pochettino’s side will make a new approach in January.
However, after starting the season out of favour, Gomes has featured in both of Barca’s last two games and appears to have found a manager who will appreciate him at the Camp Nou.
Who knows, he might even be a valued member of the squad by the New Year.