Despite Barcelona spending heavily on both Philippe Coutinho and Arthur Melo, Lionel Messi has identified a potential replacement for legend Andres Iniesta.
The Barcelona star has signed a lifetime contract with the club and has been a part of Barcelona’s best teams for nearly two decades. However, with age playing a major role in his career, the midfielder has had to adjust his gameplay but that hasn’t affected Andres Iniesta. Now 33 years old, the Spaniard is still one of the best to ever play in a Barcelona shirt and aside from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, the best in the current side.
But despite signing a lifetime contract with the Catalan giants, Iniesta has been linked with a move away to China over the last few weeks. According to reports from Marca, Dario Gol and even Spanish news outlet Sport, Tianjin Quanjian are willing to offer the 33-year-old Barcelona star a massive 35 million a year salary, to lure him away from Barcelona.
The Spaniard even came out in an interview and said ““Before April 30 I have to make the decision whether I’m still in Barcelona or I’m going to China. I have to assess what is best for me and for the club.”
Despite the fact that Iniesta will turn 34 come May, the World Cup winner has been a massive part of Ernesto Valverde’s plans this season, making 32 appearances. However, now with the arrival of Philippe Coutinho and Arthur Melo’s arrival in 2019, the club does have both the skill and the talent to replace their irreplaceable star. But according to Don Balon, Lionel Messi wants La Masia graduate Carles Alena to be given a chance.
The 20-year-old is a top prospect in the Barcelona side and has been exceptional in the La Liga 2 scoring nine goals and producing a further four assists. However, despite his obvious skill, Alena has still struggled to make an impact in three Copa Del Rey appearances this season.
There is no doubt the Carles Alena will one day be a part of that incredible Barcelona midfield trio but now is not the time. First of all, to replace Andres Iniesta is a tough job in itself but to put that burden on a 20-year-old is something else altogether. While there are quality alternatives with Coutinho and Arthur Melo, Alena can one day enter the senior squad and potentially be the player Lionel Messi wants him to replace.