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Regular watchers of La Liga won’t have seen too much of Malcom this season. That’s because, in the main, Ernesto Valverde has only used him sparingly.
After a sensational half hour cameo against Espanyol in the Catalan derby on Saturday, the Barcelona wide man must be wondering what else he has to do to get a regular spot in the current side. And he’ll not be alone with that thought either.
The young Brazilian brings something different to the team when he plays and though he’s still a little raw, one must remember that he’s just 22, had never been schooled in the Barça way before joining the club, and with only sporadic minutes here and there hasn’t really been given the chance to show what he can do.
And yet, he looked completely at home again when given his latest opportunity, running a tiring Periquito back line ragged.
…and we ❤ed your assist in the 89th. pic.twitter.com/Z44d9SQmxp
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 30, 2019
On a couple of occasions. he misread the intentions of his team-mates, prompting groans from the Camp Nou, but he frightened the opposition when in possession and, eventually, managed to set up Lionel Messi for a second goal.
It was the icing on the cake on the day and proved to Valverde and his backroom staff that he has the ingredients needed to make his move to Catalonia a success.
Media suggestions that there is a sale price on his head, with Arsenal allegedly interested, seem awfully premature after such an eye-catching display.
Barcelona slap £60m price tag on Arsenal transfer target Malcom https://t.co/JwIzcH2Ce1
— Breaking Sports News (@breaknewfb) March 28, 2019
Indeed, in most of the games he’s participated in, he’s lit up the left-hand side along with fellow speedster, Jordi Alba, and it begs the question why the coach isn’t installing him ahead of Philippe Coutinho, who just can’t catch a break at the moment.
On current form, it’s hard to argue against trying to cash in on the former Liverpool man, even though it would mean swallowing some pride.
Against Espanyol Coutinho struggled again, and whilst he isn’t playing bad per se, he’s not getting supporters off of their seats, isn’t scoring goals and has been consistently below his best level.
With Malcom taking his opportunities with both hands whenever he’s been handed them, there’s a genuine feeling amongst the Blaugrana fraternity that he must played on a more regular basis.
It would be a brave move by Valverde to hand him the reins in what is the final stretch of the season, but if it’s game-changers the coach is after, the Brazilian fits the bill.
How much he’s played between now and the end of the campaign will likely dictate his fate over the summer.
But as he matures and develops Malcom will only improve, and surely that’s precisely the kind of player to shape Barça’s destiny in the coming years?